Face-to-Face: Frederick Douglass portrait

About the Project

As part of the National Portrait Gallery's education program "Face-to-Face," Rose Weiss and Braden Paynter of the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, discuss a portrait of Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass became the first nationally known African American in United States history by turning his life into a testimony on the evils of slavery and the redemptive power of freedom. He had escaped from slavery in 1838 and subsequently became a powerful witness for abolitionism, speaking, writing, and organizing on behalf of the movement; he also founded a newspaper, the North Star. Douglass's charisma derived from his ability to present himself as the author of his own destiny at a time when white America could barely conceive of the black man as a thinking and feeling human being. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is not only a gripping nonfiction account of one man's struggle for freedom; it is also one of the greatest American autobiographies. This powerful portrait shows Douglass as he grew in prominence during the 1840s. Recorded at NPG, February 4, 2010. Image info: Frederick Douglass / Unidentified artist / Oil on canvas, c. 1844 / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Face-to-Face talk currently located on the National Portrait Gallery's iTunesU page. ["Frederick Douglass" by Unidentified Artist. NPG.74.45]

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Project Progress (details)
6 pages completed
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