David William Blight
Historian; Educator; Professional society administrator
Humanities and Arts
Dr. David W. Blight is the Class of 1954 Professor of American History and Director of Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. Blight is a leading scholar of the Civil War era and has written many important books on related topics, most notably Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (2001), which won eight major book awards, including the Bancroft Prize and the Abraham Lincoln Prize. His American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era (2011) won the Arisfield-Wolf Prize for non-fiction about race and human diversity in 2012. He began his career as a high school teacher and is dedicated to improving historical knowledge among Americans generally; thus he has regularly taught seminars for K-12 teachers and National Park Service rangers and is a coauthor of a leading U.S. history college-level textbook. He appears frequently in television documentaries. Blight is currently writing a biography of Frederick Douglass that will bring to light new information from documents previously inaccessible. He serves on the board of trustees of the New York Historical Society, the board for African American Programs at Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the board of trustees, Tredegar National Civil War Center, Richmond, Virginia, President-elect of the Society of American Historians.