The public career of abolitionist Frederick Douglass is legendary, but his family life, and the activism of his children, is much less well known
While the many public lives of Frederick Douglass – as the representative ‘fugitive slave’, autobiographer, orator, abolitionist, reformer, philosopher and statesman – are the stuff of legend worldwide, this talk sheds light on the lesser known private selves of Douglass, the family man.
Including never-before-seen photographs and sharing untold stories, scholars Marie-Celeste Bernier and Andrew Taylor trace the activism, artistry and authorship of Frederick Douglass not in isolation but alongside the sufferings and struggles for survival of his daughters and sons: Rosetta, Lewis Henry, Frederick Jr., Charles Remond and Annie Douglass.
As activists, educators, campaigners, civil rights protesters, newspaper editors, orators, essayists, and historians in their own right, Douglass’s children played a vital role in the freedom struggles of their father. They were no less afraid to sacrifice everything they had as they each fought for Black civic, cultural, political, and social liberties by every means necessary. Their activism was a family business to which all the Douglasses dedicated their lives as their rallying cry lives on to inspire today’s activism: “Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!”
Marie-Celeste Bernier is Professor of Black Studies at the University of Edinburgh and Co-Editor-in-Chief Journal of American Studies. Andrew Taylor is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. To mark the 200th anniversary of Frederick Douglass birth, together they have published If I Survive: Frederick Douglass and Family in the Walter O Evans Collection.
Sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library
Image: Anon., Charles Remond, Joseph Henry, and Lewis Henry Douglass, February 1895. (Walter O Evans Collection, Savannah, GA.)
|Name:||If I Survive: Frederick Douglass and His Family|
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