Q. The historian David Blight, right, began work on his 2018 biography of Frederick Douglass after a chance meeting with Walter Evans, left, whose extensive Douglass collection has … He could be an enormously compassionate man toward all people undergoing oppression and indignity, but he also during the war practiced a vicious brand of war propaganda aimed at the destruction not only of the Confederacy but of white Southerners themselves. But I did not really intend to write a full biography until I encountered the Evans collection in Savannah. Sixth, Douglass was a great editor, writer, speaker. Next, Blight analyzes the Dred Scott decision and discusses what it meant for northerners–particularly African Americans–to live in “the land of the Dred Scott decision.” In Spring 2008, Blight recorded a 27-lecture course, The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845–1877 for Open Yale Courses, which is available online. His story shows us over and again that all revolutions will lead to counter-revolutions. I especially wanted to probe the stories of black abolitionists. Few radical reformers in history live to see their causes triumph, and then also live long enough to become a political insider within the government or a system they had fought to overthrow, destroy, and reinvent. David William Blight (born 1949) is the Sterling Professor of History, of African American Studies, and of American Studies and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. 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. Describe the private collection of Douglass papers and material that you had access to during your research. Only then did I decide to attempt a full life of Douglass. And tenth and finally, but not least, Douglass’s world view, sense of history, and his gripping talent for storytelling rested deeply in his reading and use of the Bible, especially the Old Testament. In 2008 I first encountered the private collection of Douglass manuscripts owned by Walter O. Evans while on a lecture trip to Savannah, GA. He was an organizer, a creator of and believer in social protest movements. He previously taught at Amherst College for thirteen years. Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David Blight was a beautiful and meticulously researched biography of one of history's giants of the nineteenth century. The Trump Administration Just Made the Citizenship Test Harder. [5], Contributing to the anthology Our American Story (2019), Blight addressed the possibility of a shared American narrative. David William Blight net worth is. David Blight is a professor of history at Yale and the author or editor of a dozen books, including annotated editions of Douglass's first two autobiographies. He received the Pulitzer Prize for this book, as well as the Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and Bancroft Prizes. David Blight is a professor of history at Yale and the author or editor of a dozen books, including annotated editions of Douglass's first two autobiographies. A Conversation with David Blight, author of FREDERICK DOUGLASS. From the author: As a young man Frederick Douglass delivers many legacies to us today in the 21st century, both from the trajectory of his life and from his ideas and writings. As Yale University professor David Blight notes, Brown witnessed an enslaved boy being beaten at age 12, and that moment solidified Brown's conception of the horrors of slavery. The event includes a Q&A and book signing (books available for purchase at event). David Blight will discuss his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (Simon & Schuster, October 2018). David Blight is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics. Fourth, on a personal level, for anyone who has ever experienced despair, captivity, oppression in many forms, displacement, isolation of the soul, or legal and political denial, Douglass’s story, and his writings, offer a deep well of hope and inspiration. The Evans collection above all gave me new insights into the extraordinary trajectory of Douglass's life—the former slave born in a backwater of the South who rises to be the most famous abolitionist in America, who lives to see his cause triumphant in the Civil War, but then also lives long enough (another 30 years) to see much of that victory betrayed and eclipsed. There are a thousand questions I would want to ask Douglass if I had him in a room. Can you discuss the tension the aging Douglass experienced as he made the transition from radical outsider to political insider and symbolic figure of great fame? Blight senses a lot in Douglass’s letters, extrapolating, for example, a picture of a difficult relationship with his first wife, Anna Murray-Douglass. Previously, Blight was a professor of History at Amherst College, where he taught for 13 years. Along with his two wives over time, these kinfolk all became to one degree or another financially dependent on Douglass. David A. Blight, 48, of Luzerne passed away Thursday night in Hospice Community Care, Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre. Some of America’s major Civil Rights leaders who later became major office holders also are good examples. The research for this biography took me many places and to many archives in the US and the UK. 70 Years Later, He Told His Story. His primary focus is on the American Civil War and its aftermath. The historian David Blight, who was recently awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his outstanding biography of Frederick Douglass, sums up the legacy of The Columbian Orator as “more than a collection of stiff Christian moralisms for America’s youth. He was born on Feb. 4, 1959, in Wilkes-Barre, son of David J. Blight of Luzerne Unfortunately, modern-day conservatives have appropriated Douglass’s advocacy of self-help, claimed him as a voice of limited government (nothing could be more wrong), and therefore all but erased his radical abolitionism, his fierce fight for equality, as they stress how Douglass was a “Republican.”  Douglass was a member of a Republican Party decidedly different, with a very different history, especially about race, from the Republican Party that exists today and has frankly existed now for several generations. David Blight, professor of history, African American studies and American studies and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale University. He was a deeply spiritual man who saw the historian’s craft as a search for the minds and souls of … Nelson Mandela comes to mind. Q. The American revolution still raged, many of his own slaves had escaped, his beloved Virginia teetered on social and political chaos. From his humble beginnings as a slave in the south, he ultimately escaped slavery as a young man in Baltimore, Maryland. Did you always plan to write a biography of Douglass? Constantly traveling, he left his family in the hands of his unshakable wife, Anna Murray, an illiterate, free-born woman who grew up on the east bank of the Tuckahoe River in Maryland. David Brion Davis was an intellectual in pursuit of truth and wisdom... We stand on his shoulders. A decade on, the biography is dedicated to Evans and his wife, Linda. In this question I would hope to keep him talking about the many possible meanings he might raise. Blight is chiefly concerned with studying the ways American society grappled with the war in its aftermath. David Blight arrives in New York pulling his carry-on luggage, en route from Washington, soon to fly onwards to San Francisco. One reviewer called it "the definitive biography of Frederick Douglass" and another heralded the book as "the new Frederick Douglass standard-bearer for years to come. He cited Frederick Douglass's 1867 speech titled "Composite Nation" calling for a "multi-ethnic, multi-racial 'nation' ... incorporated into this new vision of a 'composite' nationality, separating church and state, giving allegiance to a single new constitution, federalizing the Bill of Rights, and spreading liberty more broadly than any civilization had ever attempted". Blight wrote Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, released in 2018 as the first major biography of Douglass in nearly three decades. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, many noting Blight’s attention to Douglass’s development as a writer and speaker, his biblical language, his place as an American prophet. David Blight arrives in New York pulling his carry-on luggage, en route from Washington, soon to fly onwards to San Francisco. I was initially inspired to study Douglass in graduate school in the early 1980s because I wanted to research and write about abolitionists and the coming of the Civil War. Previously, Blight was a professor of History at Amherst College, where he taught for 13 years. David Blight is a Yale History Professor, author-editor of 15 books. Douglass, therefore, lived with an acute problem of “fame,” in all its positive and negative aspects. He possessed a long love/hate relationship with America. A Conversation with David Blight, ... lecture tours in the deep South about which we knew almost nothing before, his hugely controversial marriage to second wife, Helen Pitts. David W. Blight is a teacher, scholar and public historian. Fifth, Douglass might have given up on the cause of abolition, of emancipation, of US victory in the Civil War, or of the endurance of the triumphs for black rights in Reconstruction. David W. Blight is Sterling Professor of American History at Yale University, joining that faculty in January, 2003. Douglass became an office holder (by appointment, not election), he became often a symbol as much as an actual political leader. The collection especially contains thousands of newspaper clippings from the final third of Douglass’s life, from the 1860s to the 1890s. The historian David Blight, right, began work on his 2018 biography of Frederick Douglass after a chance meeting with Walter Evans, left, whose extensive Douglass collection has … David Blight reflects on America’s Disunion – then and now “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1781. It opened worlds we had not yet seen before about his family relationships, his back-breaking and nearly endless lecture tours into old age, his place and role as the leader of black America in Washington DC, his finances revealed in the account books, his roles as Marshal of DC and Recorder of Deeds of DC, his role and place as a symbolic leader, his image out across the land where he travelled, his lecture tours in the deep South about which we knew almost nothing before, his hugely controversial marriage to second wife, Helen Pitts. Born on Aug. 5, 1929, in Luzerne, he was a son of "[2] The book earned Blight both the Bancroft Prize and Frederick Douglass Prize. Third, Douglass’s writings, especially in the autobiographies, constitute the most compelling descriptions and analysis of the nature and meaning of American slavery crafted by any American. What Does African American Studies Need to Thrive? You worked on this book for ten years, but first began researching Douglass as a PhD student. The material was less discovered than it was purchased over time from other collectors. David Blight, professor of history, African American studies and American studies and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale University. After earning his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University in 1971, Blight taught in a public high school for seven years. He also lectures for One Day University. SOURCE: Simon & Schuster (Special to HNN). Living in Washington, his family emerged as a kind of black first family in the District of Columbia press. $16 Million David William Blight Wiki: Salary, Married, Wedding, Spouse, Family David William Blight (born 1949) is a Class of 1954 Professor of American History at Yale University and Director of the Gilder-Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition. The former slave, whose brilliant prose and soaring oratory pricked the conscience of a nation, carefully shaped his own myth. The places in Douglass’s life are very important to his biography. Eighth, Douglass not only lived a heroic life in his escape from slavery and the remaking of himself in freedom; he became a major thinker – about the nature of history, about the natural rights tradition, about political and constitutional philosophy, about the elements of morality in human nature. What insights did you glean from your research using the Evans collection that you had not previously known about Douglass? Registration is requested. Following stints at North Central College (1982–1987) and Harvard University (1987–1989), Blight taught at Amherst College from 1990 to 2003. Douglass is the greatest example of this phenomenon in the 19th century. Blight concluded that although the search for a new unified American story would be difficult, "we must try. I was the first Douglass scholar to extensively consult this collection and my book is the first full biography ever to use the collection. He has won several awards, including the Bancroft Prize and Frederick Douglass Prize for Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, and the Pulitzer Prize and Lincoln Prize for Frede… The “King of the Negroes,” as Brown calls Douglass, naysays the Old Man’s ideas for armed rebellion even as he writes glorious speeches in his … 5 talking about this. If you had the chance to sit down with Douglass, what is the one thing you would want to know? Q. Douglass was a man of contradictions, and in the book you address how Douglass has become a figure adopted by all elements of the political spectrum—even current Republicans, who have claimed Douglass as one of their own. He has won several awards, including the Bancroft Prize and Frederick Douglass Prize for Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, and the Pulitzer Prize and Lincoln Prize for Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom. At Yale University he is Sterling Professor of History, joining that faculty in January, 2003. ... his wife and children at his side. Douglass was the greatest perhaps of all abolitionists, and I was especially drawn to the famous orator and writer’s masterful use of words. It is one of those stories we historians dream about, and a story about the relationships that are possible between astute and deeply knowledgeable collectors and the scholars who depend upon them. Born March 21, 1949, Blight was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. Above all the Evans collection makes possible the fullest critical treatment of the older and aging Douglass ever attempted and I have made this story a primary thread of the book. Douglass often argued that the federal government should let black folk alone, but always give them at the same time fair play and a fair chance. $16 Million David William Blight Wiki: Salary, Married, Wedding, Spouse, Family David William Blight (born 1949) is a Class of 1954 Professor of American History at Yale University and Director of the Gilder-Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition. All who seek social and political change or transformation do well to examine Douglass’s example. But if I only get one it would be something like: How, sir, would you characterize the meaning and lasting significance of the Civil War in your life and that of your entire family? That alone gives his life and thought lasting use and significance. How would you characterize Douglass’s legacy today? David Blight's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography details Douglass' passionate leadership in the abolitionist movement and his gift as a writer and orator. Professor Blight narrates the momentous events of 1857, 1858, and 1859. It "presented a new way of understanding the nation's collective response to the war, arguing that, in the interest of reunification, the country ignored the racist underpinnings of the war, leaving a legacy of racial conflict. This usually says much more about the people or groups appropriating Douglass than about Douglass himself. David Blight’s brother, James Blight, is a professor of international relations at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies, an author and a film producer. ... his wife and children at his side. "[6], David W. Blight at the 2019 National Book Festival, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal in History, Keeping Faith in Jubilee: Frederick Douglass and the Meaning of the Civil War, "Complex look at Frederick Douglass with a lesson for Trump era", "A review of 'Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom' by David W. Blight", "David Blight Awarded the 2019 Lincoln Prize for "Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, "David W. Blight Receives 2012 Anisfield-Wolf Book Prize", "David Blight receives highest honor from American Academy of Arts and Letters", "Historian David Blight on two newly published slave narratives", "Historian David Blight to Direct the Gilder-Lehrman Center at Yale", The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=David_W._Blight&oldid=990597339, Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Vincent J. Dooley Distinguished Teaching Fellow, honor bestowed by the, This page was last edited on 25 November 2020, at 11:45. Douglass was a vehement advocate of the natural rights tradition, of human equality, and of aggressive use of interventionist, activist government. As of June, 2004, he is Director, succeeding David Brion Davis, of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale. Douglass is now one of the major figures of American history that various parts of our political spectrum try to claim for their own causes and uses. David J. Blight, 78, renowned entertainer and founder of the David Blight School of Dance, passed away, Sunday, December 23, 2007, at the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. In 2001, he published Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. with his family by his side. It was my great luck to encounter Walter and his collection when I did. But he was at the same time a persistent voice of black self-reliance, of his people’s efforts to make their own way in the world, before and after emancipation. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, many noting Blight’s attention to Douglass’s development as … David Blight’s brother, James Blight, is a professor of international relations at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies, an author and a film producer. David William Blight net worth is. Why do you think that is? He received his Master of Arts degree in American history from Michigan State in 1976 and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the discipline from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1985 with a dissertation titled Keeping Faith in Jubilee: Frederick Douglass and the Meaning of the Civil War.[1]. David lives in Holbrook with his wife, Elizabeth, a stay-at-home Mom, and their three young children. His work, A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation (2007), provides context for newly discovered first-person accounts by two African-American slaves who escaped during the Civil War and emancipated themselves. Dave was born March 29, 1940 in Kenora, Ont. Trump Hints at Another Act in Four Years, Just Like Grover Cleveland, Laws and Customs Guide Presidential Transitions — But Some Go off the Rails Anyway, Democrats Introduce Legislation to Strike Slavery Exception in 13th Amendment, Washington History Seminar: Mira Siegelberg on "Statelessness: A Modern History" (Monday, Dec. 7), Beloved University of Kentucky History Professor Dies from COVID-19 Months into Retirement, David Hackett, Historian and Holocaust Expert, Dies at 80, American History Scholar Richard Polenberg Dies at 83. New Senator Tuberville Seems to Lack Basic Knowledge of World War II. david blight: He surely was, although it is true that the American abolition movement was biracial. Details like a white second wife didn't fit. Douglass actually learned a great deal from Garrison and the Garrisonians, both in … A Conversation with David Blight, ... lecture tours in the deep South about which we knew almost nothing before, his hugely controversial marriage to second wife, Helen Pitts. How Would You Do? to Elizabeth and John Blight of Morson, Ont. But above all Douglass also became in the final thirty years of his life, 1865-1895, a patriarch of a huge extended family of three sons, one daughter, and twenty-one grandchildren. I spent many weeks over the past nine years doing research on the Evans’s dining room table as their guest. Author of "Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom," which won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in History. David Blight’s Frederick Douglass affords this important American the distinguished biography he deserves. Seventh, Douglass remains a classic model of political pragmatism grown out of radicalism. He is first one of the best examples ever of a person who led by language, a genius with words whose oratory and writing provide the primary reasons we know him. What lessons could we all—political leaders, cultural leaders, and active citizens—take from his life and work? Vaclav Havel and many other Eastern European leaders after the fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall also come to mind. Like all great writers and leaders who live a long time, Douglass was a person embodying contradictions. John Brown, who would eventually stand over 6 feet tall and sport a long beard, heard a messianic calling. David J. Blight, 78, renowned entertainer and founder of the David Blight School of Dance, passed away Sunday in Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. After that first book in the late 1980s, and over time, I edited new editions of Douglass’s first and second autobiographies, a new edition of the Columbian Orator(the book that changed Douglass’s life as a slave), and I had written a number of essays on the former slave. Q. David Blight’s Frederick Douglass affords this important American the distinguished biography he deserves. Born August 5, … Ninth, Douglass has a great deal to tell us eternally about what it means to be an American, and about how the issue and history of race stands at the center of that question. John Brown, who would eventually stand over 6 feet tall and sport a long beard, heard a messianic calling. Second, Douglass delivered over and over a critique of America as a slave society that had to be dismembered and destroyed before being re-created around the idea of human equality. At Yale University he is Sterling Professor of History, joining that faculty in January, 2003. What initially inspired you to study Douglass? The Beinecke Library has announced the acquisition of the Walter Evans Collection of Frederick Douglass and Douglass Family Papers, described as “the most extraordinary private collection of Douglass manuscript material in the world” by David Blight, Sterling Professor of History, of African American Studies, and of American Studies at Yale. David W. Blight is the director of Yale University's Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition and a professor of American history. He Escaped Death as a Kamikaze Pilot. The lecture opens with an analysis of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. Q. David W. Blight is a teacher, scholar and public historian. Originally broadcast Dec. 17 2018. The collection consists of ten or so Douglass family scrapbooks assembled largely by Douglass’s sons, Lewis, Frederick Jr., and Charles; many family letters and other documents; photographs; as well as handwritten and typescript versions of many speeches. How did you come upon this collection? Among his books is Race and Reunion, which won the Frederick Douglass Prize, the Lincoln Prize, and the Bancroft Prize. Q. But he never truly gave up. David William Blight (born 1949) is the Sterling Professor of History, of African American Studies, and of American Studies and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. A true reformer has to keep a long view of history, and try to fashion the most effective and not always the most radical method of change. Just why Americans in the nineteenth century were so steeped in Biblical story and metaphor is beautifully and powerfully on display in Douglass life and work. David Blight “ David Brion Davis was an intellectual in pursuit of truth and wisdom. Douglass always had to live up to expectations of performing as the black leader, the voice of the freedpeople, the former slave who had to prove the capacities of black people. In his case this meant becoming a loyal advocate of the Republican Party for thirty years as it decisively changed from the party of emancipation and the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the party of big business and the retreat from the egalitarian transformations of Reconstruction. As Yale University professor David Blight notes, Brown witnessed an enslaved boy being beaten at age 12, and that moment solidified Brown's conception of the horrors of slavery. It is with great sadness that we announce our beloved husband, father, and friend, David John Blight, passed away April 5, 2005 at Riverside Health Care in Rainy River, Ont. Author of "Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom," which won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in History. You have spent over thirty years of your life studying Douglass. The Evans collection allowed me unprecedented access to the Douglass of the last thirty years of his life, the 1860s to 1890s. The estimated speaking fee range to book David Blight for your event is available upon request. After being hired by Yale in 2003 and teaching as a full professor, in 2006 Blight was selected to direct the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition. Q. He appears in public and media to discuss slavery and emancipation in US history. A decade on, the biography is dedicated to Evans and his wife, Linda. "[3][4] It earned the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in history and the 2019 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize. Such is the interest in his new biography of Frederick Douglass, a book 10 years in the writing and a whole career in the making, he will be on the road till December. ] [ 4 ] it earned the 2019 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize Blight your. 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