Historian David W Blight will lecture at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise on March 31 at 7 p.m. in the David J Prior Center.
Blight is Class of 1954 Professor of American History at Yale University, joining that faculty in Jan. 2003. He is director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale.
In 2013-14 he was the William Pitt Professor of American History at Cambridge University, UK. In 2010-11, Blight was the Rogers Distinguished Fellow in 19th century American History at the Huntington Library, San Marino, California. During the 2006-07 academic year, he was a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars, New York Public Library.
He is currently writing a new, full biography of Frederick Douglass that will be published by Simon and Schuster in 2017. 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 advisors to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum team of curators. In 2012, Blight was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and delivered an induction address, “The Pleasure and Pain of History.”
Blight’s newest books include annotated editions, with introductory essay, of Frederick Douglass’s second autobiography “My Bondage and My Freedom,” Robert Penn Warren’s “Who Speaks for the Negro,” and the monograph, “American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era,” which received the 2012 Anisfield-Wolf Award for best book in non-fiction on racism and human diversity Blight is also the author of “A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including their Narratives of Emancipation.” This book combines two newly discovered slave narratives in a volume that recovers the lives of their authors, John Washington and Wallace Turnage, as well as provides an incisive history of the story of emancipation.
Blight teaches summer institutes for secondary teachers and for park rangers and historians in the National Park Service, devoting a good deal of time to these and many other public history initiatives. He has been a consultant to many documentary films, including, “Death and the Civil War,” the 1998 PBS series, “Africans in America,” and “The Reconstruction Era.”
Blight has a Ph. D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and did his undergraduate degree at Michigan State University. He has also taught at Harvard University, at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, and for seven years was a public high school teacher in his hometown, Flint, Michigan.
In his capacity as director of the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale, Blight organizes conferences, working groups, lectures, the administering of the annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize, and many public outreach programs regarding the history of slavery and its abolition.
The lecture, sponsored by the Colgate Darden Lecture fund and the UVa-Wise Lecture Committee, is free and open to the public. Cultural credit is available for UVa-Wise students.