Frederick Douglass | WYPR

Frederick Douglass

Jonna McKone

There’s been a lot of attention focused on Baltimore’s youth in the year since Freddie Gray died. And much of that spotlight has been on Frederick Douglass High School. Images of dozens of Douglass students throwing rocks and bottles were captured on TV as protests turned violent the day of Gray’s funeral.  As part of our series, Baltimore: A Year after Freddie Gray, we look at how Douglass students are trying to take control of their own story.

Douglass students, their teachers and a group of reporters crammed into the school library on Wednesday to field questions about how the school has changed since Freddie Gray. Several students, two teachers, a school police officer and City Schools CEO Dr. Gregory Thornton, sat at the front of the room. Behind them were scrolling images of Baltimore residents photographed on city streets.  A scrum of cameras from local TV stations filmed from behind the audience. 

The first questions came from the students.

 

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.