Frederick Douglass and his grandson Joseph, concert violinist who inherited his love of music from his grandparents, from the Library of Congress archives
Let us remember and salute the great human rights activist and Enlightenment thinker Frederick Douglass, on this near-anniversary of his birth.
The exact day of Douglass’ birth is unknown. We know the year, 1818, from his entry in the slave ledger of his master Aaron Anthony. His likely birth month, February, is an estimate. In his later years, Douglass chose to celebrate his birthday on February 14th because, he said, his mother Harriet once called him ‘my Valentine’.
Douglass is among my favorite people that ever inhabited the earth. He was born into slavery in Maryland, was mostly self-educated, escaped to freedom when he was 20, married the loving and strong Anna Murray, and became one of the most eloquent and influential advocates for civil rights in American, and, indeed, world history. He was an author, orator, preacher, activist, statesman, patriarch, musician, and world traveler. I had the joy of following the life and ideas of this motivated, resourceful, brilliant, complicated, and incredibly fascinating person through the United States, and now I’m continuing my research in Scotland, where he spent a relatively brief but very influential part of his life.
Here are a few links to some articles and works of art by, about, and inspired by the great Frederick Douglass, including my own work.
7 Haunts of Frederick Douglass in New York City ~ by Amy Cools for Untapped Cities
Frederick Douglass ~ by Melvyn Bragg and guests Karen Salt, Nicholas Guyatt, and Celeste-Marie Bernier for In Our Time
Frederick Douglass – by Ronald Sundstrom for Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Frederick Douglass ~ Melvin Bragg discusses the life and ideas of Frederick Douglass with Karen Salt, Nicholas Guyatt, and Celeste-Marie Bernier for In Our Time
Frederick Douglass: In Progress ~ by Leigh Fought
Frederick Douglass Papers ~ at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Frederick Douglass Papers ~ at the Library of Congress
Frederick Douglass: United States Official and Diplomat ~ by the Editors for Encyclopædia Britannica
Frederick Douglass and a Valentine, Emily Dickinson and a Snake – by Rob Velella for The American Literary Blog
Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia – by John Muller
Frederick’s Song– Douglass’ words arranged and set to music by SayReal and Richard Fink
From Oakland to Maryland, New York, and Massachusetts I Go, in Search of Frederick Douglass – History of ideas travel series by Amy Cools for Ordinary Philosophy
Interview with Ken Morris, Anti-Slavery Activist ~ by Ken Morris and Amy Cools for Ordinary Philosophy Podcast
Interview with Leigh Fought on Anna and Frederick Douglass ~ by Leigh Fought and Amy Cools for Ordinary Philosophy Podcast
Frederick Douglass in the British Isles ~ History of ideas travel series by Amy Cools for Ordinary Philosophy in Scotland, England, and Ireland, 2018-2019
*A version of this piece was previously published in Ordinary Philosophy
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