Our friend and colleague, Russell W. Irvine, died on Sunday. His was not a protracted struggle with a debilitating illness, but a sudden exhaustion of life without much warning. He was preparing to live, and was very determined to complete A biography of Joseph Jenkins Roberts, the first president of Liberia. He was also planning to spend more time in Florida away from some of the cold months in the northeast.
We know not the day or the hour of our passing, nor can we predict precisely the circumstances attending our transitioning. Nevertheless, a life worth living, is a life worth living well. Russell Irvine leaves a body of work and a family, which are a testimony to a life that was lived well. He is now “down,” but his accomplishments will ensure that he will never be “out.”
He was an accomplished author, having published many articles on the history and sociology of higher education. His most recent work was, African American Quest for Institutions of Higher Education Before the Civil War: The Forgotten Histories of the Ashmon Institute, Liberia College and Avery College.
This study advances the understanding of black education during the antebellum era. It investigates the important ideological divisions that drove access to higher education for African Americans : the African Colonization Movement (A.C.S.), 1817–1862; and the Abolitionist Movement, 1830–1865. This study also provides some of the actual histories of those individuals who succeeded in obtaining an education as well as the histories of the institutions that served them. This book contains nineteen black and white photographs.
He was a contributor to Race Inquiry, as a writer and as an Associate Editor. Before retiring, he was a tenured professor in the College of Education at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He received his Ph.D. in the Sociology of Education from Case Western Reserve University.
Last year he gave a tribute to his aunt, Eva V. Willliams on the occasion of her 90th birthday. View here