WSU Vancouver to Host Civil War Lecture with Award-Winning Author David Blight
VANCOUVER, Wash. – The history department at Washington State University Vancouver will host “The Hold of the Civil War on the American Imagination, Past and Present” at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 in the Dengerink Administration building, room 110. The event will feature a lecture, reception and book signing with David Blight, a professor of American history at Yale University and the director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition. The event is free and open to the public.
The lecture will explore how Americans remember the trauma and repercussions of the Civil War. Arguably no historical event has left as deep an imprint on America’s collective memory as the Civil War. The lecture will reveal the impact by entering into a conversation between eras—the immediate aftermath, the turbulent Civil Rights era and present day.
Honoring this ongoing remembrance, the event will follow shortly after the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln issued the executive order on Sept. 22, 1862, granting freedom to slaves as of January 1, 1863.
While many Americans remember the abolition of slavery as the purpose of the Civil War, this meaning results from the struggle of the Civil Rights generation, who challenged earlier generations’ understandings of the war as tragedy, romance or an effort to retain the union as a whole.
Blight will examine these differences by delving into the shifting meanings of death and sacrifice, Reconstruction, the romanticized South found in literature, soldiers’ reminiscences of battle, the idea of the “Lost Cause,” and how the unity of white America was purchased through the increasing segregation of black and white memory of the Civil War.
Blight is the author of numerous award-winning books, including “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory,” “A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom” and “American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era.” He is currently writing a biography of Frederick Douglass, which will be published in 2013.
WSU Vancouver is located at 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave., east of the 134th Street exit from either I-5 or I-205 and is accessible via C-Tran bus service. Parking is free for this event.
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