Starting at 6:00 p.m. tonight (Thursday, September 29, 2011), the acclaimed Civil War historian David W. Blight will discusses and sign copies of his latest book, American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era, in the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium of the Harold Washington Library Center (HWLC), located at 400 South State Street in downtown Chicago. David Blight earned his undergraduate degree at Michigan State University and his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
He taught for seven years as a public high school teacher in his hometown of Flint, Michigan and has also taught at the college level at our local North Central College in Naperville, for thirteen years at Amherst College, and at some rinky-dink outfit called Harvard University. He was a Fulbright Professor in American Studies at the University of Munich in Bavaria, Germany in 1992-93.
Blight joined Yale University’s History Department in January of 2003 as Professor of American History. In June of 2004, he succeeded David Brion Davis as Director of Yale’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. During the 2006-07 academic year, he was a fellow at the New York Public Library’s Dorothy & Lewis B. Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars.
His previously-published books include Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, published by Harvard University Press in 2001, and A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Narratives of Emancipation, published by Harcourt in 2007. Race & Reunion won eight awards, including the Bancroft Prize, which is awarded by the trustees of Columbia University and is considered the most prestigious award an American historian can receive for writing; the Abraham Lincoln Prize, which is awarded by the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College; and the Frederick Douglass Prize, which is awarded by Yale’s Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History;as well as four awards from the Organization of American Historians, including the Merle Curti prizes for both intellectual and social history. Note that the broker Richard Gilder and the investment banker Lewis Lehrman endowed the Lincoln Prize and founded the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition.
In American Oracle, Professor “Blight,” according to the CPL, “takes his readers back to the Civil War’s centennial celebration to determine how Americans made sense of the suffering, loss, and liberation a century earlier. He shows how four of America’s most incisive writers—Robert Penn Warren, Bruce Catton, Edmund Wilson, and James Baldwin—explored the gulf between remembrance and reality.”
This event is co-sponsored by Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, Inc. an antiquarian bookshop located at 357 West Chicago Avenue in Chicago. Seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.