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David W. Blight - book author

David W. Blight is Class of 1954 Professor of American History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. He is the author or editor of a dozen books, including American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era; and Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory; and annotated editions of Douglass’s first two autobiographies. He has worked on Douglass much of his professional life, and been awarded the Bancroft Prize, the Abraham Lincoln Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Prize, among others.

David W. Blight is the author of books: Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation, American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Passages to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in History and Memory, Beyond the Battlefield, Frederick Douglass' Civil War: Keeping Faith in Jubilee, A People and a Nation, The Souls of Black Folk and Clotel: by W.E.B. Du Bois

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01
No historical event has left as deep an imprint on America's collective memory as the Civil War. In the war's aftermath, Americans had to embrace and cast off a traumatic past. David Blight explores the perilous path of remembering and forgetting, and reveals its tragic costs to race relations and America's national reunion.In 1865, confronted with a ravaged landscape and a torn America, the North and South began a slow and painful process of reconciliation. The ensuing decades witnessed the triumph of a culture of reunion, which downplayed sectional division and emphasized the heroics of a battle between noble men of the Blue and the Gray. Nearly lost in national culture were the moral crusades over slavery that ignited the war, the presence and participation of African Americans throughout the war, and the promise of emancipation that emerged from the war. Race and Reunion is a history of how the unity of white America was purchased through the increasing segregation of black and white memory of the Civil War. Blight delves deeply into the shifting meanings of death and sacrifice, Reconstruction, the romanticized South of literature, soldiers' reminiscences of battle, the idea of the Lost Cause, and the ritual of Memorial Day. He resurrects the variety of African-American voices and memories of the war and the efforts to preserve the emancipationist legacy in the midst of a culture built on its denial.
Blight's sweeping narrative of triumph and tragedy, romance and realism, is a compelling tale of the politics of memory, of how a nation healed from civil war without justice. By the early twentieth century, the problems of race and reunion were locked in mutual dependence, a painful legacy that continues to haunt us today.
02
As a young man, Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Maryland. He was fortunate to have been taught to read by his slave owner mistress, and he would go on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. His very existence gave the lie to slave owners: with dignity and great intelligence he bore witness to the brutality of slavery.

Initially mentored by William Lloyd Garrison, Douglass spoke widely, using his own story to condemn slavery. By the Civil War, Douglass had become the most famed and widely travelled orator in the nation. In his unique and eloquent voice, written and spoken, Douglass was a fierce critic of the United States as well as a radical patriot. After the war he sometimes argued politically with younger African Americans, but he never forsook either the Republican party or the cause of black civil and political rights.

In this biography, David Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historian have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass’s newspapers.
03
Slave narratives, some of the most powerful records of our past, are extremely rare, with only fifty-five post–Civil War narratives surviving. A mere handful are first-person accounts by slaves who ran away and freed themselves. Now two newly uncovered narratives, and the biographies of the men who wrote them, join that exclusive group with the publication of A Slave No More, a major new addition to the canon of American history. Handed down through family and friends, these narratives tell gripping stories of escape: Through a combination of intelligence, daring, and sheer luck, the men reached the protection of the occupying Union troops. David W. Blight magnifies the drama and significance by prefacing the narratives with each man’s life history. Using a wealth of genealogical information, Blight has reconstructed their childhoods as sons of white slaveholders, their service as cooks and camp hands during the Civil War, and their climb to black working-class stability in the north, where they reunited their families. In the stories of Turnage and Washington, we find history at its most intimate, portals that offer a rich new answer to the question of how four million people moved from slavery to freedom. In A Slave No More, the untold stories of two ordinary men take their place at the heart of the American experience.
04
Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, a century after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Martin Luther King, Jr., declared, "One hundred years later, the Negro still is not free." He delivered this speech just three years after the Virginia Civil War Commission published a guide proclaiming that "the Centennial is no time for finding fault or placing blame or fighting the issues all over again."

David Blight takes his readers back to the centennial celebration to determine how Americans then made sense of the suffering, loss, and liberation that had wracked the United States a century earlier. Amid cold war politics and civil rights protest, four of America's most incisive writers explored the gulf between remembrance and reality. Robert Penn Warren, the southern-reared poet-novelist who recanted his support of segregation; Bruce Catton, the journalist and U.S. Navy officer who became a popular Civil War historian; Edmund Wilson, the century's preeminent literary critic; and James Baldwin, the searing African-American essayist and activist--each exposed America's triumphalist memory of the war. And each, in his own way, demanded a reckoning with the tragic consequences it spawned.

Blight illuminates not only mid-twentieth-century America's sense of itself but also the dynamic, ever-changing nature of Civil War memory. On the eve of the 150th anniversary of the war, we have an invaluable perspective on how this conflict continues to shape the country's political debates, national identity, and sense of purpose.
06
Few things have defined America as much as slavery. In the wake of emancipation the story of the Underground Railroad has become a seemingly irresistible part of American historical consciousness. This stirring drama is one Americans have needed to tell and retell and pass on to their children. But just how much of the Underground Railroad is real, how much legend and mythology, how much invention? Passages to Freedom sets out to answer this question and place it within the context of slavery, emancipation, and its aftermath.

Published on the occasion of the opening of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, Passages to Freedom brings home the reality of slavery's destructiveness. This distinguished yet accessible volume offers a galvanizing look at how the brave journey out of slavery both haunts and inspires us today.
07
During the past decade and a half, scholars have increasingly addressed the relationship of history and memory. Among American historians, David W. Blight has been a pioneer in the field of memory studies, especially on the problems of slavery, race, and the Civil War. In this collection of essays, Blight examines the meanings embedded in the causes, course, and consequences of the Civil War, the nature of changing approaches to African American history, and the significance of race in the ways Americans, North and South, black and white, developed historical memories of the nation's most divisive event.

The book as a whole demonstrates several ways to probe the history of memory, to understand how and why groups of Americans have constructed versions of the past in the service of contemporary social needs. Topics range from the writing and thought of Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. Du Bois to a comparison of Abraham Lincoln and Douglass on the level of language and memory. The volume also includes a compelling study of the values of a single Union soldier, an analysis of Ken Burns's PBS series The Civil War, and a retrospective treatment of the distinguished African American historian Nathan I. Huggins.

Taken together, these lucidly written pieces offer a thoroughgoing assessment of the stakes of Civil War memory and their consequences for American race relations. Beyond the Battlefield demonstrates not only why we should preserve and study our Civil War battlefields, but also why we should lift our vision above those landscapes and ponder all the unfinished questions of healing and justice, of racial harmony and disharmony, that still bedevil our society and our historical imagination.
08
In this sensitive intellectual biography David W. Blight undertakes the first systematic analysis of the impact of the Civil War on Frederick Douglass' life and thought, offering new insights into the meaning of the war in American history and in the Afro-American experience. Frederick Douglass' Civil War follows Douglass' intellectual and personal growth from the political crises of the 1850s through secession, war, black enlistment, emancipation, and Reconstruction. This book provides an engrossing story of Douglass' development of a social identity in relation to transforming events, and demonstrates that he saw the Civil War as the Second American Revolution, and himself as one of the founders of a new nation. Through Douglass' life, his voice, and his interpretations we see the Civil War era and its memory in a new light.
09
Paperback. Pub Date: 2011 Pages: 976 in Publisher: Cengage Learning The ief Edition of A PEOPLE AND A NATION offers a succinct and spirited narrative that tells the stories of the all people in the United States the authors' attention to withrace and racial identity. and their inclusion of everyday people and popular culture ings history to life. engaging readers and encouraging them to imagine what life was really like in the past. Available in the following split options: A PEOPLE AND A NATION. IEF Ninth Edition ( Chapters 1-33). ISBN: 978-0-495-91619-2; Volume I: TO 1877 (Chapters 1-16). ISBN: 978-0-495-91622-2; Volume II: SINCE 1865 (Chapters 16 -33). ISBN: 978-0-495-91623-9.Contents: 1. Three Old Worlds Create a New. 1492-1600.2. Europeans Colonize North America. 1600-1650.3. North America in the Atlantic World. 1650-1720.4 . American Society Transformed. 1720-1770.5. S...