On this debut episode of our special Stories of the Civil War and Reconstruction Series, we examine the life of one of America’s most influential abolitionists, orators, writers, and statesmen – Frederick Douglass. Growing up as an enslaved person in Maryland, Douglass set himself apart by learning to read and write at an early age. After escaping from slavery, Douglass moved to Massachusetts where he became involved with local anti-slavery groups and newspapers. Ardently advocating for abolition, Douglass toured the country with William Lloyd Garrison and spoke extensively about the relationship between the Constitution and slavery in America.
David Blight is Class of 1954 Professor of American History at Yale University. An expert scholar on Frederick Douglass, Blight has written extensively on him. Blight’s newest book, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, will be released on October 2. Blight also serves as Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale and previously taught at Amherst College for 13 years.
Noelle Trent is director of interpretation, collections and education at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. Trent earned her doctorate in American history at Howard University, where she also served as a lecturer for 4 years. Her dissertation, “Frederick Douglass and the Making of American Exceptionalism,” is currently being expanded into a book.
Today’s show was engineered by David Stotz and produced by Madison Poulter and Scott Bomboy. Research was provided by Lana Ulrich and Apoorva Krishnan.