David Blight

Last night I sat in on a Boston Arts Commission meeting about Thomas Ball’s Freedmen’s Memorial located on Park Square. This is a copy of the original that was dedicated in Washington, D.C. in 1876. The memorial is once again in the news after a young Black resident called for its removal a few weeks Read more

Every year since its publication in 2011 I share a piece written by historian David Blight that lifts the veil on what is very likely the first Decoration (Memorial) Day celebration. It’s a wonderful example of how history is lost and later remembered and why. On May 1, 1865 Charlestonians black community (mainly former slaves) Read more

This morning I fired off this short tweet thread after re-reading for the upteenth time a section of David Blight’s book Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. I can’t think of another book in my area of interest that I have returned to so often. It occurred to me this morning that Read more

Some of you may know that David Blight is close to completing a biography of Frederick Douglass that is slated for publication late next year. This talk on Douglass at Harvard Law School took place the day after the presidential election. I think it is safe to say that Professor Blight was in a state Read more

David Blight recently convened a panel at Yale University to discuss the impact of the Charleston shootings on our Civil War memory. It takes a little time for the pace of this discussion to pick up, but it is well worth your time. Panelists include Edward Ball, Yale; Jelani Cobb, University of Connecticut; Glenda Gilmore, Yale Read more

A Taste of Civil War Memory Studies

Fellow blogger and historian, Keith Harris, recently asked me to put together a list of books for someone who might be interested in exploring the field of Civil War memory studies for his new online journal, The Americanist Independent.¬† The project is Keith’s attempt to utilize digital tools to bring quality history essays and other Read more

Al Mackey has been posting old CSPAN videos of various Civil War events some of which are quite interesting. I perused the CSPAN archives and came across this session from one of Gary Gallagher’s UVA conferences on the Fredericksburg Campaign from 2002. The session features Gary along with Bob Krick, George Rable, R.E.L. Krick, Bill Read more

Update: Check out this insightful interview of Coates by Bill Moyers. Somehow I am going to find a way next year to use Ta-Nehisi Coates’s brilliant essay on reparations in both my U.S. History survey and Civil War courses. My classes covers a good chunk of the history discussed in the essay. It’s not that Read more

Just finished reading Jill Ogline Titus’s thoughtful essay on the Civil War sesquicentennial and its renewed focus on the themes of slavery and emancipation in the most recent issue of The Journal of the Civil War Era. Jill surveys how various institutions have interpreted these controversial themes through their exhibits, symposia, and websites. What she Read more

An anonymous comment in response to David Blight’s recent Fortenbaugh Lecture at Gettysburg College. “In this enduring vision the United States was essentially born perfect and then continued its improvement.” — David Blight The “tragedy” in US history seems to me to be embedded in its historiography: the repeated description of the immense human sacrifice Read more