February 8, 2017 | Meeting No. 1456 | David Blight, Professor of American History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale University

Meeting Minutes 1456 February 15, 201
Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences
Whitney Center, Hamden, CT

Minutes of CAAS Meeting 1456:  February 15, 2017–Meeting No. 1456. “Writing the Life of Frederick Douglass: Lessons for Our Own Political Times” Presented by David Blight, Professor of American History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale University.

After a wine reception at 5 PM, Gregory Tignor, President of CAAS, convened the meeting at 5:30. There were a few announcements.  He gave an update on the Kohorn family that indicated that they were progressing well after some illnesses.  He asked that members send notes of good cheer.

He suggested that CAAS initiate a system of car-pooling to help some elderly members.

He then introduced two new members recommended by David Pettigrew, Vice President for SCSU, and vetted by the CAAS officers.  They were:

• Kimberly Petrovic, MA MSN RN PhD  (Nursing)
• Jason Smith, PhD (History)


The membership voted by voice for their induction.  President Tignor charged Kimberly to participate in the activities of the Academy.  He expressed regret that 

Jason Smith was not present for this event.

President Tignor announced the near-immediate retirement of Ron Heiferman as Vice President for QU and Manfred Noack as Wine Steward after this academic year.

He also declared the appointment of a new wine steward.  The council previously approved the appointment unanimously of Steven White, a gentleman scholar with multiple engineering degrees from Cornell who could be expected to open a bottle of wine. Hans Dam, the new vice president for the University of Connecticut, was presented to the membership.

Tignor then announced that this meeting is devoted to a celebration of Black History month. Before Professor Blight’s talk, Professor Brian Torff of Fairfield University announced and directed the singing of the Negro National Hymn:  “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”  

A video link will soon be added to enjoy the performance.

Tignor then introduced Professor Blight by reviewing his impressive academic accomplishments that are posted on our website:  caas.yale.edu. In his introductory remarks, Blight made light of President’s Trump’s statement that Douglass is doing amazing things as if he were still alive. Blight referred to Douglass as one of America’s original refugees.  Douglass certainly wrote beautifully and movingly as being a refugee. He spoke movingly of his life as he transitioned from an escaped slave to an important international figure.

Much of his talk was recorded by Yale News. Click here to read the article “Any time is a good time for illumination by Frederick Douglass, says Yale historian” By Susan Gonzalez, February 17, 2017

The February CAAS meeting concluded with dinner and the presentation of a CAAS pin to Professor Blight awarding one-year’s free membership in CAAS.

Minutes by Monica Aspianto
Photographs by Robert Green