Frederick Douglass Monuments
Frederick Douglass (c. February 1818—February 20, 1895), one of the most brilliant orators of his generation, worked ceaselessly for the cause of abolition. Among his many achievements, Douglass became one of the early and important critical theorists of photography, a medium invented in 1839. In a series of lectures delivered between 1861-865, Douglass argued that photography had the power to shape people’s understandings of race and as such could be deployed to resist distorted representations of African Americans. Douglass, who was exceptionally aware of the power of his own image, sat for a number of portraits over several decades, circulating his image widely. His photographic portraits serve as the basis for a number of the works in this collection, including Ivan Schwartz’s Frederick Douglass, created for the New York Historical Society.