Frederick Douglass was an incredible and important figure in American history. This man who was a slave-turned-preacher, spoke with a conviction that turned the hearts of many. David Blight, in his book, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, traces his life and this aspect of his distinguished voice calling out for the freedom of all men. Here is an interview from Blight, giving insight into his one-of-a-kind book:
Maina Muwara: You worked on this book for 10 years. What inspired you to want to write on Frederick Douglass?
David Blight: I’ve kind of always been very interested in the life of Frederick Douglass. I did a dissertation on him in graduate school. I also wrote a book in the 1980s. It was a narrower book then my current one, but what really prompted the writing of his biography was my encounter with a private collection of Douglass manuscripts that is owned by a man named Walter Evans in Savannah, Ga. And it was a chance encounter, how we connected.
I went to Savannah in 2006 to give a talk to local teachers on Douglass’s life, which I’ve done many times. And while I was there, my host said…