More than 100 people filled Rines Auditorium at Portland Public Library on May 7 to hear celebrated Civil War historian and Yale professor David Blight speak about the legacy of the Civil War. Blight is the author of numerous books and articles on the war including Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, which won eight awards. The talk served as the “endnote” to the three-year, NEH-funded Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War project that MHS collaborated on with Maine Humanities Council.
A captivating speaker with a wide-ranging intellect, Blight spoke about the many reasons the Civil War still holds sway in our national memory. These included our many periods of “racial reckoning” in this country (including the one we’re in now), the Civil War as the beginning of the modern era and so-called “big government,” and societal concepts of loss and death.
Local & Legendary team members, including ten students from Spruce Mountain High School in Jay, got the chance to speak to Professor Blight one-on-one prior to the talk.