2018 marks 200 years since the birth of Frederick Douglass, and we now have the first major biography of Douglass in a quarter century.
Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (Simon and Schuster) by prize-winning historian and Yale Professor David Blight is based on nearly a lifetime of research as well as letters and private documentation to which no biographer has previously had access. It’s this revealing collection that helped shed new light on Douglass, particularly in the latter third of his life.
Professor Blight recently sat down with Roxanne to discuss the book the New York Times Book Review called “cinematic and deeply engaging” about how Douglass escaped slavery, then went from a boy trading bread for spelling lessons to one of the most significant figures in American history. Blight also discusses Douglass’ wife of 44 years and what the political activist would think of the state of racism in the country today.
Books in this episode:
Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David Blight
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
This episode of Just the Right Book is brought to you by The Gift That I Can Give by Kathie Lee Gifford. For the entire month of November, listeners can get 30% off of The Gift That I Can Give with code JTRB. Visit store.faithgateway.com and apply the code at checkout to redeem your offer!
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ABOUT DAVID W. BLIGHT:
David W. Blight is Class of 1954 Professor of American History at Yale University, joining that faculty in January 2003. He previously taught at Amherst College for thirteen years. As of June, 2004, he is Director, succeeding David Brion Davis, of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale. In 2013-14 he was the William Pitt Professor of American History at Cambridge University, UK, and in 2010-11, Blight was the Rogers Distinguished Fellow in 19th century American History at the Huntington Library, San Marino, CA. During the 2006-07 academic year, he was a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars, New York Public Library. He just completed a full biography of Frederick Douglass that was published by Simon and Schuster. Blight works in many capacities in the world of public history, including on boards of museums and historical societies, and as a member of a small team of advisors to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum team of curators. For that institution, he wrote the recently published essay, “Will It Rise: September 11 in American Memory.” In 2012, Blight was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and delivered an induction address, “The Pleasure and Pain of History.”