Scholars

Letter to Frederick Douglass About Black Bridgeport 1854

“Frederick Douglass became the first nationally known African American in United States history by turning his life into a testimony on the evils of slavery and the redemptive power of freedom. He had escaped from slavery in 1838 and subsequently became a powerful witness for abolitionism, speaking, writing, and organizing on behalf of the movement; he also founded a newspaper, the North Star.

Douglass’s charisma derived from his ability to present himself as the author of his own destiny at a time when white America could barely conceive of the black man as a thinking and feeling human being. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is not only a gripping nonfiction account of one man’s struggle for freedom; it is also one of the greatest American autobiographies. This powerful portrait shows Douglass as he grew in prominence during the 1840s.”

(facetoface: A blog from the National Portrait Gallery/Smithsonian Institution, 2/19/10)