Virginia Civil War 150
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"Race, Slavery and the Civil War:
The Tough Stuff of American History
and Memory"

Norfolk State University
L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center
September 24, 2010

James O. Horton
Conference Chairman

James Oliver Horton is the Benjamin Banneker Professor Emeritus of American Studies and History at George Washington University. He taught at the university for 31 years before retiring in 2008. He is also Historian Emeritus at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution, and during Spring Semesters, Visiting Professor of American Studies at the University of Hawaii. He received his Ph.D. in history from Brandeis University in 1973 and taught at the University of Michigan from 1973 until 1977 when he moved to George Washington University. He was Senior Fulbright Professor of American Studies at the University of Munich, in Germany in1988-89 and the John Adams Distinguished Fulbright Chair in American History at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands in the fall of 2003. He has also lectured throughout Europe and in Thailand and Japan. In 1991 he assisted the German government in developing American Studies programs in the former East Germany. In 1993 Professor Horton was appointed by Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt to serve on the National Park System Advisory Board and in 1996 he was elected board chair. In 1994-5 he served as Senior Advisor on Historical Interpretation and Public Education for the Director of the National Park Service. Read More


Ira Berlin

Ira Berlin was born in New York City in 1941. He attended New York public schools and the University of Wisconsin, where in 1970 he received a doctorate in history with high honors. He teaches at the University of Maryland, where he served as Dean of Undergraduates and Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. He presently is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of History. In 1990, he was appointed Distinguished Teacher-Scholar, and in 1991 the Maryland Association for Higher Education named him the state's Outstanding Educator.

Ira Berlin has written extensively on American history in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, particularly on Southern and African-American life. His first book, Slaves Without Masters: The Free Negro in the Antebellum South (1975) won the Best First Book Prize awarded by the National Historical Society. Berlin is the founder of the Freedmen and Southern Society Project, which he directed until 1991. The project's multi-volume Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation (1982, 1985, 1990, 1993) has twice been awarded the Thomas Jefferson Prize of the Society for History in the Federal Government as well as the J. Franklin Jameson Prize of the American Historical Association for outstanding editorial achievement, and the Abraham Lincoln Prize for excellence in Civil-War studies from the Lincoln and Soldiers Institute of Gettysburg College. His articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Nation, American Historical Review, Journal of American History, The Journal of Social History, The Journal of Negro History, William and Mary Quarterly, and other popular and scholarly periodicals. Read More


David W. Blight

David W. Blight is Class of 1954 Professor of American History at Yale University, joining that faculty in January 2003. He previously taught at Amherst College for thirteen years. As of June 2004, he is Director the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale. During the 2006-07 academic year he was a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars, New York Public Library.

Blight is a frequent book reviewer for The Washington Post Book World, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe and is one of the authors of the bestselling American history textbook for the college level, A People and a Nation. His book, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (Harvard University Press, 2001), received eight awards, including the Bancroft Prize, the Abraham Lincoln Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Prize, as well as four awards from the Organization of American Historians. Blight’s most recent book, A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Narratives of Emancipation, was published by Harcourt in 2007.


Spencer Crew

Spencer Crew has worked in public history institutions for more than twenty-five years. He served as president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center for six years and worked at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution for twenty years. Nine of those years he served as the director of NMAH. At each of those institutions he sought to make history accessible to the public through innovative and inclusive exhibitions and public programs. Read More


Edna Greene Medford

Dr. Medford is Associate Professor and former director of the Department of History’s graduate and undergraduate programs. Specializing in nineteenth century African-American history, she teaches courses in Civil War and Reconstruction, Colonial America, the Jacksonian Era, and African-American history. Dr. Medford was educated at Hampton Institute (VA), the University of Illinois (Urbana), and the University of Maryland (College Park), where she received her Ph.D. in history. She lectures widely to scholarly and community-based groups and has presented to international audiences on topics that range from Alexis de Tocqueville to community-building among American free blacks in Civil War-era Canada. Professor Medford has served as the Director for History of New York’s African Burial Ground Project since 1996, and edited the project’s history report. She has published more than a dozen articles and book chapters on African-Americans, especially during the era of the Civil War. Her publications include The Emancipation Proclamation: Three Views (with co-authors Harold Holzer and Frank Williams). Professor Medford serves as a faculty mentor to the Ronald McNair Scholars and has been the faculty sponsor for the campus chapter of Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society for the last 19 years. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of National History Day, Inc., a member of the Lincoln Forum and the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia, and serves on the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission’s Advisory Council. She served as a member of the Scholars’ Advisory panel for the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Education Committee of the Education Center at Mount Vernon Plantation. She has appeared on several segments of the History Channel’s “Civil War Journal” and on a number of C-SPAN programs. She is the 2006 recipient of the “Outstanding Graduate Faculty of the Year Award” for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (awarded by the Graduate Student Assembly). Her research awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to complete a study of community-building across international boundaries among nineteenth century African Americans and African Canadians.


Harold Holzer

Harold Holzer, Senior Vice President for External Affairs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, serves also as co-chairman of the U. S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, appointed by President Clinton. He is the author, co-author, or editor of 35 books on Lincoln and the Civil War era. Among them are The Lincoln Image, The Confederate Image, The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Lincoln as I Knew Him, Dear Mr. Lincoln: Letters to the President, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: The Civil War in Art, The Lincoln Family Album, Lincoln on Democracy (co-edited with Mario Cuomo), which has been published in four languages, and Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech that Made Abraham Lincoln President, which won a 2005 Lincoln Prize.

His latest books are: Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861 (2008), which won the Barondess/Lincoln Award and the Award of Achievement of the Lincoln Group of New York; The Lincoln Anthology (2009), a Library of America collection featuring 150 years of great writers on the subject of Abraham Lincoln; and In Lincoln’s Hand (2009), featuring Lincoln’s original manuscripts with commentary by distinguished Americans; and Lincoln and New York (2009), the catalogue of a New-York Historical Society exhibition for which he served as chief historian.

Holzer has also written more than 425 articles over the past 35 years in both scholarly and popular publications, and contributed chapters and prefaces to 30 additional volumes. He has won many research and writing awards, most recently the National Endowment Medal from President Bush in 2008.

A former journalist, and political and government press secretary (for both Bella Abzug and Mario Cuomo), Holzer has served as an executive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art since 1992. He and his wife, Edith, who live in Rye, New York, have two grown daughters and a grandson.


Bruce Levine

Bruce Levine is the J. G. Randall Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has published three books on the era of the Civil War. The first, entitled The Spirit of 1848: German Immigrants, Labor Conflict, and the Coming of Civil War (Illinois, 1992), examines immigrants' reactions to slavery and the sectional conflict in America. The second, entitled Half Slave and Half Free: The Roots of Civil War (Hill & Wang,1992; revised 2005), explores the social, economic, and political causes of the war. The third, Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves during the Civil War (Oxford, 2005), analyzes the Confederacy's desperate, last-minute attempt to win the war by enlisting and emancipating its own slaves. Confederate Emancipation received the Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship and was named by the Washington Post as one of the year’s ten best books. Levine’s next book describes the destruction of slavery and the South's slave-based society during the Civil War.


James M. McPherson

James M. McPherson was born in North Dakota and grew up in Minnesota, where he graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1958. In 1963 he received a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. From 1962 until retirement in 2004 he taught American history at Princeton University, where he is now the George Henry Davis '86 Professor of American History Emeritus. He is the author of 15 books and editor of another 10 books, most of them on the era of the American Civil War and Reconstruction. His books have won several prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize (1989) for Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, a Lincoln Prize (1998) for For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War, and a second Lincoln Prize (2009) for Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief. He has received a number of other awards, including the Pritzker Prize for lifetime achievement in military writing. In addition to his membership in several professional associations and historical preservation societies, he is an elected member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is now working on a book about the navies in the Civil War.


Cassandra Newby-Alexander

Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander has always tried to integrate teaching, research, and public service in the greater service of learning. Her philosophy about teaching is best stated by writer Robert Hutchins: “It must be remembered that thepurpose of education is not to fill the minds of students with facts... it is to teach them to think, if that is possible, and always to think for themselves.” Read More


Dwight T. Pitcaithley

Dwight T. Pitcaithley received his doctorate from Texas Tech University in 1976. His professional experience includes: College Professor, New Mexico State University, 2005-present; Board of Directors, New Mexico Humanities Council, 2006-present; Adjunct Professor, George Mason University, 1993-2004; Council, American Association for State and Local History, 2002-2006; President, George Wright Society, 2004-2006; President, National Council on Public History, 1998; Editorial Board, The Journal of American History, 2006-2008; Editorial Board, The Public Historian, 1991-1997; Program Committee, Organization of American Historians, 1995, 2002; Board of Directors, National Council on Public History, 1991-1994; Program Committee, National Council on Public History, 1992, 2002; Historic Preservation and Display Committee, Society for History in the Federal Government, 1988-1989; History Committee, Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Foundation, 1985-1989; Public History Committee, Organization of American Historians, 1983-1985; Chief Historian, National Park Service (Washington), 1995-2005; Chief, Division of Cultural Resources, National Park Service, National Capital Region (Washington), 1989-1995; Regional Historian, National Park Service, North Atlantic Region (Boston), 1979-1989; Historian, National Park Service, Southwest Region (Santa Fe), 1976-1979. Read More


Jean Fagan Yellin

Jean Fagan Yellin was born into a radical Midwestern newspaper family and earned her graduate degrees at the University of Illinois. A Distinguished Professor Emerita at Pace University, New York, she has edited Uncle Tom's Cabin and other classic American texts, and is best known for her work on the fugitive slave author and activist Harriet Jacobs. She published the definitive edition of Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, establishing the book as autobiography and Jacobs as its author; wrote the biography Harriet Jacobs: A Life (2004); and edited the two-volume Harriet Jacobs Family Papers (2008). Also the author of Women and Sisters and The Intricate Knot, she is a mother, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother. With her husband, she divides her time between New York City and Sarasota, Florida.


Sponsored by a generous grant from Dominion Resources
and other partners

The Dominion Foundation

Verizon Foundation History Channel Virginia Foundation for the Humanities



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