Commemorate the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial with these NEH resources
February is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass, an extraordinary American orator and statesman. Born into slavery, he escaped and joined the abolitionist movement, working as a writer, publisher, orator, and Underground Railroad conductor. During the Civil War he worked actively for the enlistment of black men in the Union Army and for emancipation. In the Reconstruction era and after, he continued his fight for equal rights for African Americans and for women. Throughout his career, he produced several autobiographies and innumerable speeches, some of the most significant nonfiction writing of his century.
Over the years, NEH has supported notable projects relating to Douglass, from the digital edition of his Papers, to the dramatic documentary about his career as an abolitionist. EDSITEment has several lesson plans about his 1845 Narrative and also his greatest speech, What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? Many of his published books are freely available to download through the Documenting the American South website.
EDSITEment Lesson Plans
- Frederick Douglass’s “Narrative” Myth of the Happy Slave
- What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?
- From Courage to Freedom: Frederick Douglass’s 1845 Autobiography (3 Lessons)
Humanities magazine articles
- Reverberations of the Fourth of July
- Frederick Douglass Lived another Fifty Years after Publishing His First Autobiography
Published Works (from Documenting the American South)
- Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Written by Himself (1845)
- The Heroic Slave. From Autographs for Freedom, Ed. Julia Griffiths (1853)
- My Bondage and My Freedom. Part I. Life as a Slave. Part II. Life as a Freeman (1855)
- Life and Times of Frederick Douglass: His Early Life as a Slave, His Escape from Bondage, and His Complete History to the Present Time (1881)
- Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1892)