By the Reflection of What Is

“…he “out-citizened” white citizens, at a time when most whites did not believe that blacks should be citizens.”


John Stauffer and Zoe Trodd | Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s Most Photographed American| Liveright| Nov. 2015 | 22 minutes (5,654 words)

The following excerpt appears courtesy of Liveright Publishing.

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Frederick Douglass was in love with photography. During the four years of civil war, he wrote more extensively on photography than any other American, even while recognizing that his audiences were “riveted” to the war and wanted a speech only on “this mighty struggle.” He frequented photographers’ studios and sat for his portrait whenever he could. As a result of this passion, he also became the most photographed American of the nineteenth century.

It may seem strange, if not implausible, to assert that a black man and former slave wrote more extensively on photography, and sat for his portrait more frequently, than any of his American peers. But he did…

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