I love this photograph, which was taken this past weekend in Gettysburg during our panel discussion on the teaching of Civil War memory in the classroom. It was a real privilege for me to be seated in between the two historians (David Blight and John Hennessy), who have had the biggest impact on my understanding of historical memory and public history. Their passion for history is highly infectious. Both have encouraged me at different times and have helped to open new doors. I am certainly grateful and proud to call both friends.
The conference in Gettysburg was all about providing academic and public historians an opportunity to talk with one another about a broad range of issues. The relationship that David and John have established over the years exemplifies this commitment to work together for the benefit of the public. The result has been a number of groundbreaking programs. The most memorable for me was a 2007 tour of Fredericksburg, Virginia with John and David that traced the path of John Washington from slavery to freedom. It was one of the most moving experiences that I can recall at a historic site.
You can’t help but feel rejuvenated after spending a few days in such good company.