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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Painful Reminder For Many
This book is a painful reminder for many, and a painful illumination for others, that life in the Early Americas for anyone who wasn't part of the Colonial expansion from Europe was far from idealistic and idyllic. Wilder moves through the pre-Colonial era with a disturbing grace. His language refuses to allow the reader to sanitize the genocide and abduction of both...
Published 15 months ago by Saundra Mitchell

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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but uneven
This is an interesting account of ties to slavery in early American universities. It is a bit uneven, however, in that it often abruptly jumps between topics, makes extensive claims on thin evidence, and draws simple conclusions where the context is obviously much more complex. Even with these criticisms, though, I'd recommend the book as one more window onto the the...
Published 10 months ago by David W. Opderbeck


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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Painful Reminder For Many, September 25, 2013
This review is from: Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities (Hardcover)
This book is a painful reminder for many, and a painful illumination for others, that life in the Early Americas for anyone who wasn't part of the Colonial expansion from Europe was far from idealistic and idyllic. Wilder moves through the pre-Colonial era with a disturbing grace. His language refuses to allow the reader to sanitize the genocide and abduction of both Native American and African populations during this period. He doesn't let the reader hide behind the strangely neutral "slave"-- it's always enslaved person-- because that's truly the point behind this examination of Early America.

Not only was the country itself built on the labor of enslaved people, even the places that we consider today to be bastions for progressive thought, have racism steeped into the very foundations. This is not an easy read, nor is it a pop social commentary on race. It's a thoughtful, in-depth examination that requires your attention on every page. It reveals and reminds us all that despite the high-minded thoughts of early leaders, their actions were very, very different indeed-- especially if they served to profit from the trade in human beings.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A convincing depiction of slavery's place in early American society, October 10, 2013
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This review is from: Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities (Hardcover)
Focusing on the highest level educational institutions in early America, which were almost always closely connected to churches, Wilder provides a very strong demonstration of how deeply ingrained slavery was as not only a legal and normal institution, but an institution which was accepted by those considered to be society's highest intellectual and ethical leaders. This very readable book reflects the author's extensive research and balanced use of his findings. I would recommend it highly.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical monograph, November 7, 2013
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This review is from: Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities (Hardcover)
This is a must-read for all people in American academia. It uses archival research to uncover the racist roots of our most prestigious private institutions of higher education. Students should be assigned this book and professors should discuss the vast implications of its revelations. Even IF we already knew that the economy of this country was based largely on slave labor, that our hallowed halls of academe also took advantage of our early forays into slavery and plantation products is eloquently demonstrated here. One of the most enlightening historical monographs I have read in years.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ebony & Ivy: The Educational Soul of America, December 10, 2013
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This review is from: Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities (Hardcover)
Ebony & Ivy demonstrates the beauty of truth-telling and scholary research in a most dignified manner. It does not assign blame, it powerfully connects how things that happened in the past is embodied in the present, and continues to exist in the future.

I believe that Dr. Craig Steven Wilder has gifted us, human kind, with a wealth of knowledge about the creation of educational institutions in America ... the soul of our American civilization.

I am still amazed at how money is raised in the name of one group, but the money is mainly used to finance yet another group.

I would highly recommend this book for all, especially professional educators ... the so called, "keepers-of-the-gate." At this time, I cannot imagine a masters or doctoral degree being conferred without a class using Ebony & Ivy as its core.

Thank you, Dr. Wilder. Thanks to the many who helped to facilitate this scholary work.

In addition, Dr.Wilder, your interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! is gracious, scholarly, magnificent ...!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Time for Truth, October 19, 2013
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This is a searing, factual indictment of the American colonial elite, New Englanders not excepted, for their unapologetic participation in the slave trade and the subjugation of non-white persons. For once and for all, it makes clear the close connections between the mercantile, social, intellectual and religious leaders of the north and the south in the two centuries before the Civil War.
I give it only four stars because the author seldom stops to merciless parade of examples to help the reader see the broader implications.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We Need to Know This, January 24, 2014
This review is from: Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities (Hardcover)
Despite its poetic title, this is a very serious book discussing a less than pleasant topic – the permeation of slavery throughout the early history of the English colonies, and ultimately the United States, and its influence in establishing the American academic community. To say I enjoyed the book is to demean the brutal circumstances discussed in the book. Let me say instead, that the book reads like an unpublished doctoral thesis: It is well written and achieves its goal of educating the reader, nay, inducting the reader, into an awareness of the skillfully disguised, little disclosed, underlying roots of the history of education in America. Fully one-third of the book consists of notes and citations.

And yet, while clearly an academic work, the book is woven in such a way as to grasp the attention and interest of the reader. Dr. Wilder documents the stories of real people with a style that takes seemingly dry facts and fashions a wholeness of reality. Then, based on seeing reality in that way, the reader can recognize the veracity of the disheartening thesis. Interestingly enough, I believe that what makes this work so powerful is that where some authors would be most emotional (and emotionally attached to the thesis), Dr. Wilder simply piles more facts on the table. The reader cannot help but nod in acknowledgement of the obvious.

The financial foundation of the American educational system is indeed traceable to the profits gained from the ownership of enslaved people and the suppression of the native peoples of America. Why do we need to know this? We do not need to know this in order to feel guilty, but instead, to understand that nothing happens in a vacuum. We need to know this in order to feel grateful to all who have contributed to our society. We need to know this in order to be clear about our roots as a nation. We need to know this in order to regain humility as a people. We are not and never have been a perfect society and we can strive for forgiveness of the past so that we can all move forward with dignity.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slavery at Yale, Harvard, and Princeton, March 19, 2014
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This review is from: Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities (Hardcover)
Wilder's history of slave-holding by the early leaders and students at Ivy League colleges shatters any remaining illusions that slavery was a creature of the South. Imagine a Harvard man currying favor in a court of Europe by offering an American Indian slave. Wilder explores how the slave trade and the establishment of plantations in the South and West Indies that used slaves were driven by the interests of northern industrialists and merchants of the time. Beyond all of this, the book's accounting of the subjugation and enslavement of the Pequots and other Indian tribes of New England in the name of converting them to Christianity should be enough to force a re-writing of the history of the area. All painstakingly documented. It's about time we had a history of the times that tells it like it was.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read and educational, too., November 27, 2013
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Herman M. Winkels Jr. (Hoboken, NJ, United States) - See all my reviews
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Mind boggling to drown in the connections between slavery and our best in education. Craig Steven Wilder is an academic I have respected for years and this book just adds to his credit. As I shared with my mother not sure I recommend it universally because I don't think everyone is able to handle the everyday violence of our past with slavery.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightning!, October 14, 2013
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A closer insight of the collective state of mind of Europeans during the slavery years that reflects the psychological effects in today's society.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scholarly ( in both good ways and bad ways), March 2, 2014
This review is from: Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities (Hardcover)
Dr. Wilder has certainly thoroughly researched the topic and indeed this is an important history that should be told...and those who seek to learn more about our country's history should read this . It is however very scholarly ( meaning...its a lot like reading a doctoral dissertation). It is abundant with names, places, facts, factoids. It is not necessarily an "easy read". I do recommend it for readers who seek an in depth presentation of the early days of slavery in the colonies and the rise of abolitionism prior to the Civil War. For those who prefer to take on a "light read"...this is not for them.
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Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities
Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities by Craig Steven Wilder (Hardcover - September 17, 2013)
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