Yale University Historian David Blight on How We Remember the Civil War

Jul 3, 2012

Tomorrow, of course, is the Fourth of July, America's birthday. But, in the meantime, today (July 3rd) is the 149th anniversary of Pickett's Charge, the failed Confederate infantry assault on the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg: the unsuccessful attack (named for Maj. Gen. George Pickett) that's now basically seen as the beginning of the end of the Southern war effort. Indeed, one of the largest-ever Civil War reenactments is planned for today in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania --- it's to be a full-blown recreation of Pickett's Charge --- even though the actual Civil War Sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary, is still one year away. On this edition of The Best of StudioTulsa, we revisit a terrific conversation that we had back in May with David Blight, the award-winning Civil War historian and Yale University professor. At that time, Blight was the keynote speaker at a "Material Memory" conference being held at the Gilcrease Museum. On today's show, he tells us about how we as Americans have remembered, romanticized, re-enacted, reflected on, and reacted to the Civil War in the 150 years since it occurred.