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The Frederick Douglass Organization

Organization Profile

Frederick Douglass Presentations

Dramatic interpretation of the lives of my great-great grandparents, tracing their working in tandem throughout the most important periods of his life, chronicling:

  • His flight from slavery to freedom,
  • His evolution as an abolitionist, author, orator and editor of the North Star; interaction with President Lincoln about issuing Emancipation Proclamation and allowing Blacks to fight for freedom in the Union Army;
  • And his international stature gained through his ambassadorial roles in Haiti & Santo Domingo combined with his speaking engagements throughout Europe which gained him recognition as one of the world's leading intellectuals.

Particular emphasis is placed on the integral role that Anna played in key phases of his life, while she worked as a stanch conductor of the Underground Railroad, maintained the household, raised their five children and supported all of his endeavors. This portrayal is in sharp contrast to that of many historians who have hastily dismissed her as being ignorant and unlettered. Numerous contemporary woman refer to Anna as being symbolic of the women of the 1800s who labored in diverse endeavors and supported numerous causes, while being shunted to the background and left out of the history books.

Historical Components
The dramatization follows the lives of Frederick and Anna, with adaptations being made to allow for references to the activities of Douglass in and relevant historical details about the cities/areas where the play is being presented. The Douglass family dresses in attire that is representative of the emerging African American Middle class of the era.

Musical Components
B.J. Douglass, wife of Frederick Douglass IV, is regarded as one of America's foremost A Cappella vocalists. During the dramatization, she conveys portions of the story in song. Additionally, Mrs. Douglass interweaves patriotic anthems, gospel and songs of light from slavery into the fabric of the presentation. With advance planning, it is possible to involve representative local vocal ensembles in the presentation.

Motivational Components
While the dramatization avoids being didactic or preachy, inspirational messages are embedded. The first and foremost message is that "If people like Frederick Douglass could come into this life as a slave and evolve to international stature as an editor, author, orator and ambassador, then young people in contemporary America with access to public education, computers free libraries and other educational resources have no excuse not to succeed."

Frederick Douglass IV is available to lecture about the life and times of his great-great grandfather, individually and/or as a component of the presentation of Frederick & Anna: Alive & in Love.

Interactive Components
Participants are provided with numerous opportunities for interaction during the day, prior to, and/or subsequent to the presentation of the drama. The interaction can take place in a classroom or theatrical setting prior to the dramatization. Following the dramatization, the hosting entity has the option of holding a dialogue wherein attendees can ask questions about slavery, abolition, racism and other issues covered by the Douglass duo. Another option allows for the separation of males and females for individualized sessions conducted separately by the Douglass duo on gender issues, followed by another session where everyone discusses such issues in the full group.

There is considerable flexibility for setting up the curriculum that will be followed during the day and/or evening. Advance planning allows for maximal benefits for the participants and the sponsoring entity.