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David Blight’s Plenary Address at the 2007 AASLH Annual Meeting.

Blight says that visiting the historical sites has caused him to think about the difference of memory and history.

History is a reasoned reconstruction of the past, rooted in research and tends to be critical and skeptical of human motives and action. Memory is often treated as a sacred set of absolute meanings and stories.

He recounts the stories of two slaves that made their way to freedom and documented their journey in a diary. Blight says the histories of these men were almost lost if it wasn’t for the memory of the children and grandchildren who help on to them for so long.

AASLH makes available for download a selection of sessions from past annual meetings. Please note that these are raw audio files and have not been edited.