Synopsis by John Patrick Sheehan
Part of the Biography television series from A&E, this documentary reviews the career and personal life of Frederick Douglas. Born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, he was the son of a slave woman and, probably, her white master. Upon his escape from slavery at age 20, he adopted the name of the hero of Sir Walter Scott's The Lady of the Lake. Douglass immortalized his years as a slave in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. This and two subsequent autobiographies, My Bondage and My Freedom and The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, mark his greatest contributions to American culture. Written as antislavery propaganda and personal revelation, they are regarded as the finest examples of the slave narrative tradition and as classics of American autobiography. Douglass saw the Civil War as a moral crusade against slavery. During the war he labored as a propagandist of the Union cause and emancipation, a recruiter of black troops, and, on two occasions, an adviser to President Abraham Lincoln. He viewed the Union victory as an apocalyptic rebirth of America as a nation rooted in a rewritten Constitution and the ideal of racial equality. Some of his hopes were dashed during Reconstruction, but he continued to travel widely and lecture on racial issues, national politics, and women's rights.
African-American, race-relations, slavery, social-injustice