From 1840s to the end of his life in 1895 at the age of 77, Frederick Douglass attained international fame as an unparalleled abolitionist, feminist, educator, editor, diplomat
From 1840s to the end of his life in 1895 at the age of 77, Frederick Douglass attained international fame as an unparalleled abolitionist, feminist, educator, editor, diplomat and orator. He was the most photographed American of the Nineteenth Century, and it is likely that more Americans heard Douglass speak than any other public figure of his time. He lived to see Black emancipation, to work actively for women’s rights long before they were achieved and the triumphs and tragedies of Reconstruction. He also lived to the age of lynching and Jim Crow laws, when America collapsed into retreat from the very victories in race relations he had helped win. His remarkable life spanned the era, and he saw great advancement and great loss for his causes.
David W. Blight is the Sterling Professor of History and the 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 Frederick Douglass’ first two autobiographies. His book “Frederick Douglass – Prophet of Freedom” won the Pulitzer Prize in History, the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, the Francis Parkman Prize, the Bancroft Prize for History, and the Plutarch Award.