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Blight, David, 1990 April 17

 File — Multiple Containers

Scope and Contents

Historian of African-American cultural and intellectual history David Blight lectured on 4/17/1990 (2015-0002/AC4). Blight, the Chair of Department of Black Studies at Amherst College, spoke on Frederick Douglass as an artist and the writing of history.


  • 1990 April 17

Conditions Governing Access

Links to digitized content are included in the finding aid.

Biographical / Historical

David William Blight was born on March 21, 1949, in Flint, Michigan. He attended Flint Central High School, from which he graduated in 1967. He attended Michigan State University where he played for the Michigan State Spartans baseball team and graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts in history. Blight taught at Flint Northern High School for seven years. He received his Master of Arts degree in American history from Michigan State in 1976 and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the discipline from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1985 with a dissertation titled Keeping Faith in Jubilee: Frederick Douglass and the Meaning of the Civil War.

Following stints at North Central College (1982–1987) and Harvard University (1987–1989), Blight taught at Amherst College from 1990 to 2003. In 2001, he published Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. It "presented a new way of understanding the nation's collective response to the war, arguing that, in the interest of reunification, the country ignored the racist underpinnings of the war, leaving a legacy of racial conflict." The book earned Blight both the Bancroft Prize and Frederick Douglass Prize.

After being hired by Yale in 2003 and teaching as a full professor, in 2006 Blight was selected to direct the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition. His primary focus is on the American Civil War and how American society grappled with the war in its aftermath. His 2007 book A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation context for newly discovered first-person accounts by two African-American slaves who escaped during the Civil War and emancipated themselves. He also lectures for One Day University. In Spring 2008, Blight recorded a 27-lecture course, The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845–1877 for Open Yale Courses, which is available online.

Blight wrote Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, released in 2018 as the first major biography of Douglass in nearly three decades. It earned the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in history and the 2019 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize.

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1 Cassettes (Audio cassette tape recording) : AC 4 1 cassette, Side A-0:47:07, Side B-0:28:38. The run time of the digital recording is 1:15:41. The digital recordings have been merged for ease of listening.

Language of Materials

From the Series: English

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
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Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US