David W. Blight on Frederick Douglass: Sponsored by the Reginald F. Lewis Museum and Johns Hopkins University Press


September 30, 2018




Literary Salon

Historian David W. Blight has focused on Frederick Douglass for much of his professional life and his new book from Simon & Schuster, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, is a definitive, dramatic biography of the most important African-American of the nineteenth century: the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era.  Professor Blight also wrote an admiring foreword for the new edition of Dickson J. Preston’s classic biography, Young Frederick Douglass, published this year by JHU Press. His Baltimore Book Festival talk will focus on the extraordinary legacy of Frederick Douglass as reflected in these two books as well as other scholarly and popular works.

As a young man Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Maryland. He was fortunate to have been taught to read by his slave owner mistress, and he would go on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. He wrote three versions of his autobiography over the course of his lifetime and published his own newspaper. His very existence gave the lie to slave owners: with dignity and great intelligence he bore witness to the brutality of slavery.

David Blight is Class of 1954 Professor of American History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. He is the author or editor of a dozen books, including American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era; and Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory; and annotated editions of Douglass’s first two autobiographies. He has been awarded the Bancroft Prize, the Abraham Lincoln Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Prize, among others.

This program will be hosted by JHU Press director Barbara Kline Pope and Reginald F. Lewis Museum executive director Wanda Draper.


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