Frederick Douglass: Revolutionizing Race and Photography

THU, JUL 14, 2016 (00:00)

Frederick Douglass was in love with photography. From his earliest known photograph in 1841 until his passing in 1895, he sat for his portrait whenever he could and became the most photographed American of the nineteenth century; more photographed than President Abraham Lincoln. In this first major exhibition of Douglass photographs, we offer a visually stunning re-introduction to America’s first black celebrity — immediately recognizable in his own lifetime by millions.

Scholars John Stauffer and Zoe Trodd are the co-curators of the exhibit Picturing Frederick Douglass, based upon their acclaimed book about the famed abolitionist’s photographs. They join Dr. Manisha Sinha, author of_The Slave's Cause: A History of Abolition,_ to discuss the impact of the wide distribution of images of Douglass.

+ BIO: Orlando Bagwell

Orlando Bagwell is a producer and director, known for Hymn: Remembering Alvin Ailey (1998), Frederick Douglass: When the Lion Wrote History (1994) and When Loud Music Turned Deadly (2014).

Bagwell is also a professor of documentary and director of UC Berkeley J-School's documentary program. One of the foremost documentarians of his generation, Bagwell brings a career-long commitment to producing distinguished documentaries of his own as well as nurturing the work of aspiring filmmakers.

+ BIO: Manisha Sinha

Manisha Sinha is Professor and Graduate Program Director of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She was born in India and received her Ph.D from Columbia University where her dissertation was nominated for the Bancroft prize. Her recent book The Slave's Cause has been reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Atlantic, and the Boston Globe among other newspapers and journals. It was featured as the Editor’s Choice of the New York Times Book Review. Her first book The Counterrevolution of Slavery was named one of the ten best books on slavery in Politico in 2015.

+ BIO: Zoe Trodd

Zoe Trodd is a fellow at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in the Center for the Study of the American South. She has a PhD from Harvard University's History of American Civilization department and a BA/MA from Cambridge University in English Literature.

She researches and teaches American protest literature, especially the literature of civil rights, anti-lynching and abolitionism.

+ BIO: John Stauffer

John Stauffer writes and lectures on the Civil War era, antislavery, social protest movements, and visual culture. He is the author of seven books and more than 45 articles, including The Black Hearts of Men: Radical Abolitionists and the Transformation of Race (2002), which won four major awards, including the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, the Avery Craven Book Award, and the Lincoln Prize runner-up.

His essays have appeared in Time Magazine, Raritan, New York Post, 21st: The Journal of Contemporary Photography, and The Harvard Review; and he has appeared on national radio and television shows. His new book, GIANTS: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, was published in November 2008. Currently, John is completing a book with Sally Jenkins on radical interracialism and Unionism in Civil War era Mississippi. The story, Free State of Jones, will appear as a major motion picture by the filmmaker Gary Ross, with whom John served as a scholarly consultant.

John received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1999, began teaching at Harvard that year, and was tenured in 2004. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife, Deborah Cunningham, and their two-year-old son, Erik Isaiah Stauffer.

Partner
Museum of African American History