Ira Berlin, a professor of history at the University of Maryland and winner of the 1999 Bancroft Prize in American History, draws upon Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America in tandem with Remembering Slavery: African-Americans Talk about Their Personal Experiences of Slavery and Emancipation.
Walter Isaacson, president of the Aspen Institute and author of Kissinger: A Biography, traces Benjamin Franklin’s life from runaway apprentice to Founding Father, exploring how Franklin’s commitment to the common American and his appreciaiton for the possibilities of democracy helped forge an American national identity.
Edward L. Ayers is Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia where he is also the Hugh P. Kelly Professor of History. Here he looks at the Civil War’s impact on the lives of people in two communities divided by the Mason-Dixon line, based on his book In the Presence of Mine Enemies, which was awarded the 2004 Bancroft Prize.
James Oliver Horton, the Benjamin Banneker Professor of American Studies and History at George Washington University, and Lois E. Horton, Professor of Sociology at George Mason University, explore the human dimension of the inhumane institution of American slavery and trace the rise of Jim Crow as a new means of racial control.