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David W. Blight is Class of 1954 Professor of American History at Yale University. Blight was the Class of 1959 Professor of History at Amherst College, where he taught for 13 years.


Blight grew up in Flint, Michigan, where he later taught in a public high school for seven years. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1985.

He is the director of the Gilder-Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale University. His primary focus is on the American Civil War and its aftermath.

Along with historians Eric Foner and Steven Hahn, Blight focuses his study on post-Civil War history. He also lectures for One Day University.


  • 2002 Bancroft Prize
  • 2002 Merle Curti Award
  • 2002 Lincoln Prize
  • 2001 Frederick Douglass Prize.[1]


  • Frederick Douglass (1993). Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave. Introduction David W. Blight. Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press. 


In American mythology, the freeing of the slaves is a top-to-bottom affair: Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, and after that it was up to government to ensure their rights, though for about a century government didn't exactly do a good job of it. David W. Blight makes plain that it never was as simple as that.[2]


  2. Jonathan Yardley (18 November 2007). "Book Review". The Washington Post.  A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation. Harcourt, 2007. ISBN 0-15101-232-6.

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