April 12, 2002
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.— David W. Blight, the Class of 1959 Professor of History and Black Studies at Amherst College, has received a 2002 Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy awarded by the Trustees of Columbia University for Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory ($29.95, 512 pp., Harvard University Press, Cambridge 2001). The Bancroft Prize, one of the most distinguished awards in the field of history, is presented annually to the authors of books of exceptional merit and distinction in the fields of American history and biography.

Race and Reunion is a study of how Americans—black and white, from North and South, soldiers and politicians, writers and editors—made sense of America's most wrenching war. Eric Foner of Columbia University wrote in the New York Times Book Review that “Race and Reunion demonstrates forcefully that...it still matters very much how we remember the Civil War.” “Blight conclusively demonstrates” wrote Jonathan Yardley in the Washington Post Book World, that the post-war “United States was caught up almost immediately in a ‘tormented relationship between healing and justice,’ and the abolitionist, emancipationist view of the war’s aims quickly receded into the background.”

Race and Reunion also received the 2001 Frederick Douglass Prize as the year’s outstanding book on slavery and the 2001 Lincoln Prize given by the Lincoln & Soldiers’ Institute at Gettysburg College. A pioneer of the emerging field of memory studies, Blight is also the author of the award-winning Frederick Douglass’s Civil War (1989) and many other books and articles.

More information from the Harvard University Press Website.