Segments in this Video

Frederick Douglass (03:01)


Frederick Douglass spoke at an abolitionist event on Nantucket Island in August 1841. He was a fugitive slave and gave the audience a first-hand account of what it was like to be enslaved. He used his speaking and writing abilities to help fight slavery.

Douglass' Childhood (03:18)

Douglas was born into slavery in Talbot County, Maryland. He did know his exact age or his father. He lived with his grandmother Betsy until the age of six when he began work at the main plantation house.

Douglass' Enslavement (04:05)

The main plantation house was Douglass' initiation into slavery. His owner sent him to Baltimore to be a house servant for Hugh and Sophia Auld. After Hugh stopped Sophia from teaching Douglass to read, Douglass sought any knowledge he could.

Douglass and "The Columbian Orator" (02:18)

After teaching himself to read, Douglass often read the "Bible" and "The Columbian Orator." One of the speeches was a dialogue between a slave and his master about freedom. Douglass reflected on his condition as a slave.

Douglass and Edward Covey (03:51)

In 1833, Douglass was sent to a man known for breaking young, enslaved people. It was a turning point for Douglass and after six months of beatings, he defended himself against Covey.

Douglass and Anna Murray (05:24)

After an escape attempt, Douglass went to Baltimore to work as a caulker. He met Anna Murray, a free woman, through the AME Church. With her help, Douglass disguised himself as a free man and took a train to New York, where they got married.

Douglass' New Life (03:56)

Douglass and Murray settled into the free black community in New Bedford. They got to know members of the abolitionist movement, like William Lloyd Garrison. Douglass became a travelling orator and published "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave" in 1845.

Douglass in Great Britain (02:35)

Having outed himself as a fugitive slave in his book, Douglass went abroad. He continued to give speeches and became a global figure within the abolitionist movement. Douglass accepted friends paying for his freedom, so he could return to America.

Douglass and The North Star (04:30)

Douglass wanted to do more than tell his story. He started "The North Star" to create a black voice for abolition. It gave Douglass a platform to voice his own political ideas.

Douglass and Photography (03:20)

Douglass realized the power of photography and capturing what real African Americans were like. He was the most photographed man of the 19th century. He used photography to combat racist stereotypes.

Douglass and the Fugitive Slave Act (04:23)

The Fugitive Slave Act passed in 1850 and made the act of returning escaped slaves a federal issue. Douglass wrote against it in "The North Star" and advocated for violence against slave catchers. Douglass began to believe a war over slavery would occur.

Douglass and Abraham Lincoln (03:08)

Douglass supported Abraham Lincoln, who was the first anti-slavery president but not an abolitionist. When Lincoln called for slavery's end, southern states began succeeding. Douglass saw it as an opportunity to finally end slavery.

Douglass and the Civil War (05:14)

Douglass criticized Lincoln for saying the war was about saving the Union, not ending slavery. Douglass urged Lincoln to permit black men into the Union military through the Emancipation Proclamation.

Douglass and Black Equality (05:00)

Douglass was optimistic about equal rights for black people. He supported Reconstruction and wanted black participation in southern governance.

Credits: "Becoming Frederick Douglass" (00:28)

Credits: "Becoming Frederick Douglass"

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Becoming Frederick Douglass

3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Discover how a man born into slavery became one of the most influential voices for democracy U.S. history. A gifted writer and charismatic orator, it is estimated that more Americans heard Douglass speak than any other 19th-century figure — Black or white. Directed by Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Stanley Nelson and Nicole London, the film features the voice of actor Wendell Pierce as Douglass.

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL283066

Copyright date: ©2022

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.