About the Presenters
Edward L. Ayers has been President of the University of Richmond since 2007. Since his arrival, President Ayers has led the creation of The Richmond Promise, an ambitious strategic plan that has helped foster progress across the institution.
Dr. Ayers is a noted historian and the author of ten books on the American South. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including a Bancroft Prize for distinguished writing in American History and the Beveridge Prize for the best book in English on the history of the Americas since 1492 for In the Presence of Mine Enemies, Civil War in the Heart of America. His book, The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction, was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Dr. Ayers’ digital archive project, The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War, has been used in thousands of classrooms across the country to enable students to directly access the letters, diaries, newspapers, and other first-person accounts of two communities, one Northern and one Southern, during the Civil War. Dr. Ayers is also a co-host of BackStory, a nationally syndicated radio show that ties history to the present day.
Dr. Ayers is an accomplished teacher. In 2003 he was awarded the National Professor of the Year from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and he annually teaches an undergraduate seminar for first-year students as well as a Gilder-Lehrman seminar for high school teachers.
Dr. Ayers has received a presidential appointment to the National Council on the Humanities, served as a Fulbright professor in the Netherlands, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and serves on the board for the American Council of Education and many organizations in Richmond.
Prior to joining the University of Richmond community, Dr. Ayers served on the faculty of the University of Virginia since 1980, most recently as the Buckner W. Clay Dean of the college and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
President Ayers received his Bachelor of Arts degree (summa cum laude) in American Studies from the University of Tennessee and his Master of Arts degree and Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University.
Thavolia Glymph is Associate Professor of African and African American Studies and History at Duke University. Professor Glymph is the author and coauthor of several award-winning books and essays on enslaved and slaveholding women, slavery, emancipation and the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction, economic history, and southern women. She is co-editor of Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1861, ser. 1, vol. 1; The Documentary of History of Emancipation, 1861-1867, ser. 1, vol. 3; The Wartime Genesis of Free Labor: The Lower South and Essays on the Postbellum Southern Economy. Her most recently published work is Out Of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008). Her current writing and research focuses on women in the Civil War, the geography of the plantation household and Civil War veterans in Egypt.
Gary W. Gallagher is the John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War at the University of Virginia. A native of Los Angeles, California, he received his B.A. from Adams State College of Colorado (1972) and his M.A. (1977) and Ph.D. (1982) from the University of Texas at Austin. He taught for twelve years at Penn State University before joining the faculty of the University of Virginia in 1998.
He is the author or editor of more than thirty books, including The Confederate War (Harvard University Press, 1997), Lee and His Generals in War and Memory (Louisiana State University Press, 1998), The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History (co-edited with Alan T. Nolan, Indiana University Press, 2000), Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten: How Hollywood and Popular Art Shape What We Know About the Civil War (University of North Carolina Press, 2008), and The Union War (Harvard University Press, 2011). He serves as editor of two book series at the University of North Carolina Press (“Civil War America” and “Military Campaigns of the Civil War”) and has appeared regularly on the Arts and Entertainment Network’s series Civil War Journal as well as participating in more than three dozen other television projects in the field.
Professor Gallagher delivered the 1996 Littlefield Endowed Lectures at the University of Texas at Austin, the 2004 Brose Lectures in Civil War History at Penn State University, the 2005 Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture at Gettysburg College, and in 2001-2002 he was the Times-Mirror Foundation Distinguished Fellow at the Henry E. Huntington Library in San Marino, California. He is also the recipient of the Cavaliers’ Distinguished Teaching Professorship for 2010-2012, the highest teaching award conveyed by the University of Virginia. Active in the field of historic preservation, he was president from 1987 to mid-1994 of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites (an organization with a membership of more than 12,500 members representing all 50 states). He also served as a member of the Board of the Civil War Trust and has given testimony about preservation before Congressional committees on several occasions.
Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, is one of this country’s most prominent historians. He is one of only two persons to serve as president of the three major professional history organizations – the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Society of American Historians – and one of a handful to have won the Bancroft and Pulitzer Prizes in the same year. Professor Foner’s publications have concentrated on the intersections of intellectual, political and social history, and the history of American race relations. His best-known books are: Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War (1970; reissued with new preface 1995) Tom Paine and Revolutionary America (1976); Nothing But Freedom: Emancipation and Its Legacy (1983); Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (1988) (winner, among other awards, of the Bancroft Prize, Parkman Prize, and Los Angeles Times Book Award); The Reader’s Companion to American History (with John A. Garraty, 1991); The Story of American Freedom (1998); and Who Owns History? Rethinking the Past in a Changing World (2002). His survey textbook of American history, Give Me Liberty! An American History and a companion volume of documents, Voices of Freedom, appeared in 2004. His most recent book, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery (winner, among other awards, of the Bancroft Prize, Pulitzer Prize for History, and The Lincoln Prize) was published in the fall of 2010. Eric Foner has also been the co-curator, with Olivia Mahoney, of two prize-winning exhibitions on American history: A House Divided: America in the Age of Lincoln, which opened at the Chicago Historical Society in 1990, and America’s Reconstruction: People and Politics After the Civil War, which opened at the Virginia Historical Society in 1995 and traveled to several other locations. He revised the presentation of American history at the Hall of Presidents at Disney World, and Meet Mr. Lincoln at Disneyland, and has served as consultant to several National Parks Service historical sites and historical museums.
Dr. Foner earned a B.A. (summa cum laude) from Columbia; a second B.A. from Oriel College, Oxford, as a Kellett Fellow; and a Ph.D. under the tutelage of Richard Hofstadter at Columbia University.
Christy Coleman became President and CEO of the American Civil War Center in Richmond, Virginia in April 2008. Ms. Coleman was a Vice President at Arts Consulting Group from 2007-2008 and previously served as President and CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan from 1999 to 2005. While at the Wright Museum she increased memberships from 3,500 to over 15,000 and directed the completion of the stunning $12 million, “And Still We Rise” exhibit. Prior to her work at the Wright Museum, she held the positions of Director of Midtown Operations (1997-1999) and Director of African American Interpretations and Presentations (1994-1997) at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. From 1986-1989 she worked for the Baltimore City Life Museums as Assistant Educator. It was at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, however, that Ms. Coleman first gained national attention both in the media and among scholars for her innovative and, at times, controversial programs centered on African Americans. She has authored a number of historical dramas, teleplays and live performances for museums around the country. She has received a number of professional awards for her diverse body of work. She most recently served as a contributing writer for Museums in the 21st Century, written articles for professional journals including The Colonial Williamsburg Revolution and The Play’s the Thing: The Future of Museum Theater, and presented at a number of conferences and seminars. She has lectured extensively on early African American history and culture, museum, theater and the changing role of museums. Ms. Coleman has served on the boards of the American Association of Museums, American Association for State and Local History, and the International Museum Theater Alliance. Ms. Coleman completed her undergraduate degree with highest honors and her Master of Arts in Museum Studies from Hampton University.