Picturing Frederick Douglass | WYPR

Picturing Frederick Douglass

Feb 25, 2016

Credit Courtesy of Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives

Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave, a gifted author and orator, and a champion of emancipation and civil rights. But here’s something you may not know: he was passionate about photography. In fact, Frederick Douglass was the 19th century’s most photographed man. Why was a man who devoted his life to ending slavery and racism so in love with photography? A new book called “Picturing Frederick Douglass” explores that question. We’ll talk with John Stauffer, who co-authored the book. And we’ll meet Kenneth Morris, Jr., a Frederick Douglass descendant who is himself a modern-day abolitionist. Morris grew up surrounded by some of the 160 photos featured in the book.

Below are a few photos from the book, and here's an essay on the book from The New Republic, with more: 

The first known photograph of Frederick Douglass.

The only known photograph of Frederick Douglass smiling.