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David W. Blight

American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era

Harvard University Press

2012 Nonfiction

Blight-2012
David Blight is a professor of history and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. His newest book, American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era, is an intellectual history of Civil War memory, rooted in the work of Robert Penn Warren, Bruce Catton, Edmund Wilson, and James Baldwin.

His previous book, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (2001), won several awards, including the Bancroft, the Abraham Lincoln, and the Frederick Douglass prizes. Blight is also the author of A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Narratives of Emancipation (2007), which garnered three book prizes.

Blight has a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and earned his undergraduate degree at Michigan State University. He has taught at Harvard University, Amherst College, and North Central College in Naperville, Ill. For seven years, he was a public high school teacher in his hometown, Flint, Mich.

An elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Blight works in many capacities in the world of public history, including on boards of museums and historical societies, and as a member of a small team of advisers to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum team of curators. 

He is currently writing a biography of Frederick Douglass.

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Blog Posts about David W. Blight

VIDEO: 2012 Winner David W. Blight Speaks At Cleveland's City Club

Screen shot 2015-05-06 at 12.13.27 PM Yale professor David W. Blight spoke at the esteemed City Club the day after our Anisfield-Wolf ceremony to speak about his latest work, American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era. Watch the video and let us know if you've had a chance to read his work. We welcome your comments. Read More →

Listen As Esi Edugyan, David Livingstone Smith, David W. Blight And Arnold Rampersad Discuss Race And Diversity

We won't spend too much time on an introduction today; let's get right to the meaty stuff. Recently, our 2012 winners all had a chance to speak with Dred-Scott Keyes on the Public Radio Exchange to discuss their books and the deeper themes within. Take a listen to David W. Blight and Esi Edugyan in part one, and David Livingstone Smith and Arnold Rampersad in part two: Read More →

VIDEO: Who Was The Most Important African American Leader Of The 19th Century?

Screen shot 2015-05-06 at 12.29.03 PM Some of the world's greatest historians—David W. Blight, Henry Louis Gates, Taylor Branch, etc.—are also Anisfield-Wolf award winners. They know their subjects backward and forward, being able to recall dates, times, places with astonishing accuracy, clarity and insight. They make it possible for us to get to know some of history's most important leaders in a way that is completely accessible.  That is what David W. Blight aims to do with his upcoming book, his third focusing on the life of Frederick Douglass, who he claims is the "most... Read More →

Upcoming Events For Our 2012 Winners

Smith-2012-P We are roughly a month away from the 2012 Anisfield-Wolf ceremony and is customary, we are alerting fans to several opportunities to meet our 2012 winners.  Book Signing with David Livingstone Smith Cuyahoga County Public Library, Beachwood Branch (In the Meeting Room) 25501 Shaker BoulevardBeachwood, Ohio 44122-2398Corner of Richmond & Shaker BoulevardWednesday, September 12, 20127:00 PM – 8:30 PMRegistration is recommended. Click here to register.     Lecture with David W. Blight Baker-Nord Center for the... Read More →

5 Things To Know About David W. Blight, 2012 Winner For Nonfiction

Screen shot 2015-05-06 at 2.16.46 PM We'll be spending this week exploring the lives and works of the 2012 Anisfield-Wolf Award winners. First up is David W. Blight, 2012 winner for nonfiction, for his work, American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era. He's working on a biography of Frederick Douglass to be released in 2013. He is, as to be expected from his body of work, one of the nation's most preeminent scholars on the Civil War. (Read his thoughts on whether the war could have been prevented.)  His course at Yale, The Civil War and Reconstruction Era... Read More →