Posts Tagged David Blight

Speculative historian unable to debate Old Anacostia Douglassonian John Muller on fundamental flaws in his scholarship and interpretations appointed by Yale University Sterling Professor

William Alston-El - Frederick Douglass wheat paste on lower MLKDavid William Blight, newly named as the Sterling Professor of History, of African American Studies, and of American Studies, is a renowned historian who is considered one of the nation’s foremost authorities on the Civil War and its legacy.

The Sterling Professorship is the highest honor bestowed on Yale faculty.

Blight is the author or editor of more than 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 Frederick Douglass’ first two autobiographies. He has conducted research on the life and work of Douglass for much of his professional career. His most recent book, “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom,” has garnered eight awards, including a Pulitzer Prize and the Bancroft Prize.

A graduate of Michigan State University, Blight earned a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He taught at Harvard University and North Central College (Naperville, Illinois), and for seven years was a public high school teacher in his hometown of Flint, Michigan. Prior to joining the Yale faculty in 2003, Blight taught at Amherst College for 13 years. At Yale, he serves as director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. In this role he organizes conferences, working groups, lectures, the administration of the annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize, and many public outreach programs regarding the history of slavery and its abolition.

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 team of advisors to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum curators. His board memberships include the New-York Historical Society, the Benjamin Franklin Papers at Yale, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, the National Civil War Center at Tredegar in Richmond, Virginia, the executive board of the Organization of American Historians, and the board for African American Programs at Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Yale professor lectures widely in the United States and around the world on the Civil War and Reconstruction, race relations, Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, and problems in public history and American historical memory. He 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.

Blight is a frequent book reviewer for The New York Times, Washington Post Book World, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, and other newspapers. He is one of the authors of the bestselling American history textbook for the college level, “A People and a Nation.” He is also series advisor and editor for the popular Bedford Books series in “American History and Culture,” featuring teaching books for the college level.

Blight was elected as a member of the Society of American Historians in 2002, and served as that society’s president in 2013-14. In 2012, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Leave a comment

Deadline: Barack & Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground reportedly working on film adaptation of “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom,” which cites “Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia” 8 times

Image result for president obama frederick douglass“Higher Ground is producing a feature film adaptation of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, for which author David W. Blight won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in History.”





, ,

Leave a comment

Professor David Blight, Prof. Bernier, and Dr. Walter and Linda Evans invited to join “Walking Tour of Frederick Douglass’ Old Anacostia” on Sunday, April 28, 2019 at 11:45 AM

John Muller _ walking tour (3)This weekend Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Blight, Dr. Celeste-Marie Bernier, co-author of If I Survive, and Dr. Walter O. Evans and his wife Linda Evans, collectors and owners of the Frederick Douglass family scrapbook collection that was the genesis of Blight and Bernier’s books, will be in Washington City.

Therefore, after concluding my third walking tour of Old Anacostia with the Smithsonian Associates on Sunday, April 29, 2019 in the morning I will be leading an independent walking tour of Old Anacostia starting at 11:45 AM in which these luminaries are cordially invited.

Professor Blight, in a series of talks across the county, has frequently mentioned that the last third of Douglass’ life has been overlooked. Although he cites Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C: The Lion of Anacostia (The History Press, 2012) in his book 8 times he has yet to demonstrate any scholastic self-respect for the study of Dr. Douglass and mention my book.

I look forward to having these distinguished guests visit a scared community of Washington City that was integral to Frederick Douglass and his family for more than a quarter-century.

It is my understanding Prof. Bernier and the University of Edinburgh has been conducting walking tours of the Scottish city of Edinburgh so therefore it is more than appropriate and necessary that Old Anacostia is afforded the same scholastic respect and recognition as an indigenous and historic Douglassonian community.

We look forward to reporting back next week.

Editor’s Note:

Professor Leigh Fought completed the walking tour a couple years back whereas her husband Douglas Egerton turned back due to apparent uncomfort with the temperatures.

There is an open invitation to Eric and Harriet Lowery and the entire Frederick Douglass Honor Society of Easton, Maryland, Director Chanel Compton of the Banneker-Douglass Museum and many other individuals and institutions which are in the line of business of Frederick Douglass to visit the neighborhood of Old Anacostia and learn about the community in which Dr. Douglass was an active and engaged citizen.

, , ,

Leave a comment

Video: Pulitzer Prize Winner David W. Blight Talks About Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

, , , ,

Leave a comment

Congratulations to “Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia” cited 8 times in 2019 Pulitzer Prize Winner in History

William Alston-El - Frederick Douglass wheat paste on lower MLK

The late Honorable William Alston-El is featured in Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia, cited 8 times by 2019 Pulitzer Prize Winner in History. 

For a distinguished and appropriately documented book on the history of the United States, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, by David W. Blight (Simon & Schuster)



Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

By David W. Blight

The definitive, dramatic biography of the most important African American of the nineteenth century: Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era.

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. He wrote three versions of his autobiography over the course of his lifetime and published his own newspaper. 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, often to large crowds, using his own story to condemn slavery. He broke with Garrison to become a political abolitionist, a Republican, and eventually a Lincoln supporter. By the Civil War and during Reconstruction, Douglass became the most famed and widely travelled orator in the nation. He denounced the premature end of Reconstruction and the emerging Jim Crow era. In his unique and eloquent voice, written and spoken, Douglass was a fierce critic of the United States as well as a radical patriot. 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 remarkable 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. Blight tells the fascinating story of Douglass’s two marriages and his complex extended family. Douglass was not only an astonishing man of words, but a thinker steeped in Biblical story and theology. There has not been a major biography of Douglass in a quarter century. David Blight’s Frederick Douglass affords this important American the distinguished biography he deserves.

— from the publisher


Nominated as finalists in History in 2019:

Civilizing Torture: An American Tradition, by W. Fitzhugh Brundage (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press)

American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic, by Victoria Johnson (Liveright/W.W. Norton)

Annette Gordon-Reed* (Chair)

Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History; Professor of History, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

Tiya Miles

Professor of History and Radcliffe Alumnae Professor, Harvard University

Marcus Rediker

Distinguished Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh


, , , , ,

Leave a comment

David Blight: “We didn’t even get to talk about the older Douglass and all the rest of the women.” Washington College continues to disgrace intellectual and scholastic legacy of Dr. Douglass by dumbing down history, unable to uplift history of Douglass on the Eastern Shore without repeating Dickson Preston.

“Author to discuss Douglass trip to Denton” [Star Democrat, 6 Feb 2019]

“Douglass visited Cambridge, researchers say” [Star Democrat, 25 Sept 2018]

“Douglass’ college ties extended far and wide” [Star Democrat, 1 Feb 2018]

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

Academy of Arts & Science -> “A Conversation about Frederick Douglass” (April 1, 2019)

Cover of David Blight's 2018 biography, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

The New Haven Program Committee and Yale’s MacMillan Center invite you and your guests to a conversation about David W. Blight’s rich and comprehensive biography, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, featuring David W. Blight and Robert SteptoCrystal Feimster will moderate the conversation.

A limited number of spaces are available for a small dinner at Heirloom Restaurant following the reception. Interested members can log in to register for both the program and the dinner online. Please contact Hannah Gersten with questions.


, , , ,

Leave a comment

“Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia” cited 8 times in Bancroft Prize for History awardee (NY Times)

David W. Blight, whose book was called “a definitive portrait” of Frederick Douglass. Willy Sanjuan/Invision, via Associated Press

A mammoth biography of Frederick Douglass and a new study of the 17th-century colonial American conflict known as King Philip’s War have won this year’s Bancroft Prize, which is considered one of the most prestigious honors in the field of American history.

David W. Blight’s “Frederick Douglass, Prophet of Freedom,” published by Simon and Schuster, was cited for offering “a definitive portrait” of the 19th-century former slave, abolitionist, writer and orator “in all his fullness and imperfection, his intellectual gifts and emotional needs.”

Lisa Brooks, whose “Our Beloved Kin” was praised for how it “imaginatively illuminates submerged indigenous histories.”

Lisa Brooks’s “Our Beloved Kin,” published by Yale University Press, was praised for how it “imaginatively illuminates submerged indigenous histories,” drawing readers into “a complex world of tensions, alliances and betrayals” that fueled the conflict between Native Americans in New England and European colonists and their Indian allies.

The Bancroft, which includes an award of $10,000, was established in 1948 by the trustees of Columbia University, with a bequest from the historian Frederic Bancroft.

, ,

Leave a comment

VIDEO: David W. Blight & Ta-Nehisi Coates discuss “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom”

Editor’s Note:

Thank you to the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale University for hosting the wonderful discussion.

I will respond in a forthcoming series of videos detailing some of the intellectual and scholastic shortcomings in this presentation.

W Street Douglassonians will prepare a petition for debate with the moderator being chosen by Coates and Blight, with our suggested recommendations.

, , ,

Leave a comment

Delmarva Public Radio’s Don Rush interviews David Blight (Feb. 2019)

Delmarva Public Radio logoLast year I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Don Rush, host of Delmarva Public Radio’s program Delmarva Today, about Frederick Douglass’ 1877 visit to Cambridge, Maryland.

My speaking with Don was due the relationship and recommendation of Eastern Shore community historian Linda Duyer, who first documented and introduced to the public information on the lost visit of Frederick Douglass in February 1880 to Salisbury, Maryland in Wicomico County. Don also spoke with Ms. Duyer last year.

Last month Rush interviewed Yale University professor David Blight about his new book and the time Douglass spent on the Eastern Shore.

, , ,

Leave a comment