6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America

Webcast available

Webcast Recap

Edward Ayers, winner of the Lincoln Prize for 2018, will explore the American Civil War and its consequences from the ground up. Building on a pioneering digital archive that offers a comprehensive view of a Virginia county and a Pennsylvania county in the Great Valley, Ayers shows the complex interactions among white and black people, Federal and Confederate forces, Democrats and Republicans, men and women, soldiers and civilians, and war and Reconstruction.

Edward Ayers has been named National Professor of the Year, received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama at the White House, won the Bancroft Prize and Beveridge Prize in American history, and was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He is one of the cohosts for BackStory, a popular podcast about American history. He is Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and president emeritus at the University of Richmond. His major publications include The Promise of the New South: Life after Reconstruction (1992), In the Presence of Mine Enemies: Civil War in the Heart of America (2003), and The Thin Light of Freedom: Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America (2017).

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Philippa Strum (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.

Speakers

Moderator

  • Eric Arnesen

    Fellow
    Professor of History, The George Washington University
  • Philippa Strum

    Global Fellow
    Former Director, Division of United States Studies, Woodrow Wilson Center

Speakers

  • Edward Ayers

    Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and president emeritus at the University of Richmond