Picturing Douglass

This week we’re reading Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.



Supplementary Reading 1:

  • Read and examine the images in Appendix A (page 173-184) on the European editions of Douglass’s narratives

Supplementary Reading 2 (select one):

  • Read any one of the Douglass letters written from Scotland in Appendix B
  • Read Item 10 in Appendix C, “Slavery and the Annexation of Texas into the United States” (page 228)

For your second post, please watch the above short video about Frederick Douglass and photography and review the texts and images in Appendix A. After reviewing these materials think about how Douglass constructed his image to make his appeal for the abolition of slavery. Next, please select a passage from the Narrative that you think exemplifies Douglass’s quest to create an image of himself to help effect his cause. 

  • How do his words work in conjunction with his quest to achieve a positive self image? 
  • Furthermore, how do you think the images of him helped him to create a transatlantic audience? 
  • How does his use of the visual (and just as importantly, rhetoric that evokes the visual) stir his audience to support his cause? 

Be sure to introduce your selected quote, quote the quote, and follow it up with your analysis.

Next, select one of the letters that Douglass wrote while in Ireland and Scotland contained in Appendix B or read the speech that Douglass gave in Cork, Ireland in Appendix C. 

  • Similar to the questions above, how does Douglass evoke the visual in either his correspondence or his speech? 
  • Additionally, how does his time in the UK and Ireland affect his perspective on the United States? 

Please select a direct quote from one of these readings to illustrate your answer to this question. Again, introduce your quote, quote the quote, and offer an analysis that explains your thinking.

Students who read and incorporate two items from Supplementary Reading 2 will earn extra credit.

Lastly, please select an image of Frederick Douglass (there are many given that he was the most photographed man of the nineteenth century) to use as a the “featured image” on your post. At the bottom of your post, please include all of the information you can find about your featured image — year, city, photographer, etc. You may include additional images, links, or .gifs as useful and appropriate. You may even be a few murals of the acclaimed intellectual that might be relevant to our transatlantic investigations. Please feel encouraged to be creative and innovative!

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