June 20, 2024

Great Lives Continues with Frederick Douglass on Feb. 27

The 17th season of the William B. Crawley Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Thursday, Feb. 27, with abolitionist, orator and author Frederick Douglass, with David W. Blight, author of The New York Times bestseller Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom. This series is open to the public free of charge and no admission tickets are required. Programs begin at 7:30 p.m. in Dodd Auditorium in George Washington Hall. Each lecture concludes with an audience Q&A session with the speaker and a book-signing. The Synergy Periodontics and Implants Lecture.

As a young man Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Maryland. He was taught to read by his slave-owner mistress, and he would go on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. His very existence gave the lie to slave owners: with dignity and great intelligence, he bore witness to the brutality of slavery.

Initially mentored by William Lloyd Garrison, Douglass spoke widely, using his own story to condemn slavery. By the Civil War, Douglass had become the most famed and widely travelled orator in the nation. In his unique and eloquent voice, written and spoken, Douglass was a fierce critic of the United States as well as a radical patriot. After the war he sometimes argued politically with younger African Americans, but he never forsook either the Republican Party or the cause of black civil and political rights.

In this “cinematic and deeply engaging” (The New York Times Book Review) biography, David Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historians have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass’ newspapers. “Absorbing and even moving…a brilliant book that speaks to our own time as well as Douglass’” (The Wall Street Journal), Blight’s biography tells the fascinating story of Douglass’ two marriages and his complex extended family. “David Blight has written the definitive biography of Frederick Douglass…a powerful portrait of one of the most important American voices of the nineteenth century” (The Boston Globe).

The Great Lives series will continue on Tuesday, March 10 with Female Internet Inventors, featuring Claire L. Evans, author of Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet. Visit https://www.umw.edu/greatlives/ for more information.


  1. Thank you so much for published