Gettysburg College and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History have announced that David Blight, author of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (Simon & Schuster), is the recipient of the 2019 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize.
A noted Civil War historian, Blight is Class of 1954 Professor of American History at Yale University and directs the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at the MacMillan Center at Yale University.
He will be recognized during an event hosted by Gettysburg College and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History at the Union League Club in New York City on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. The award includes a $50,000 prize and a bronze replica of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ life-size bust “Lincoln the Man.”
Blight’s nearly 900-page Prophet of Freedom tackles Frederick Douglass’s complex history and his legacy as an abolitionist. The prizewinning historian’s research for the book spanned nine years.
Basker is one of the six Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize Board members who decided this year’s winners. In addition to Richard Gilder and Lewis Lehrman, principals of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York and co-creators of the Gilder Lehrman Collection, other board members include Gettysburg College President Janet Morgan Riggs, Trustee Larry D. Walker, and Trustee Emeritus H. Scott Higgins.
The laureate was one of those recommended to the board by a three-person jury: John Stauffer, Sumner R. and Marshall S. Kates Professor of English and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University; Barbara A. Gannon, Associate Professor of History at the University of Central Florida (UCF); and Elizabeth R. Varon, Associate Director of the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History and Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History at the University of Virginia.
The jury also selected four other finalists from 102 submissions: Richard J. M. Blackett, The Captive’s Quest for Freedom: Fugitive Slaves, the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, and the Politics of Slavery (Cambridge University Press); William W. Freehling, Becoming Lincoln (University of Virginia Press); Joanne B. Freeman, The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Diane Miller Sommerville, Aberration of Mind: Suicide and Suffering in the Civil War–Era South (University of North Carolina Press)
The Prize has been awarded annually to a work that enhances the general public’s understanding of the Civil War era. It was co-founded in 1990 by businessmen and philanthropists Richard Gilder and Lewis Lehrman, co-chairmen of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York and co-creators of the Gilder Lehrman Collection.
For more information about the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, visit their website.
For more information about Gettysburg College, visit their website.