Why Abolitionist Frederick Douglass Loved the Photograph

He Considered It the Most Democratic of Arts and a Crucial Aid in the Quest to End Slavery and Achieve Civil Rights

Suddenly, it seems, the camera has become a potent weapon in what many see as the beginning of a new civil rights movement. It’s become a familiar tale: Increasingly, blacks won’t leave home without a camera, and, according to F.B.I. Director James B. Comey, more police officers are thinking twice about questioning minorities, for fear of having the resulting film footage go viral.

But the link between photography (or film) and civil rights dates back to Frederick Douglass, the famous former slave, abolitionist orator and writer, and post-war statesman.

Douglass …

Abolition and Emancipation Were Not the Same Thing

After the Civil War, Rose Herera Wanted More Than Freedom—She Wanted Justice

Early in 1865, in the city of New Orleans, a newly freed woman named Rose Herera made a startling allegation. She told a local judge that her former owner’s wife, …

The Confederate Flag’s Gone, But Slavery’s Still Here

150 Years After Emancipation, the U.S. is Still Struggling to End Human Trafficking

What is slavery, and what does it have to do with America today?

Most people in the U.S. understand that slavery was the condition black people were forced into before …

The Cane That Struck Against Slavery

For Eight Years, Congress Refused to Hear Petitions on Abolition. John Quincy Adams Received This Gift in Recognition of His Battle Against the ‘Gag Rule.’

The history of American democracy is often best revealed not in the nation’s founding documents, but in the activism and struggles of countless individuals to create a more perfect union. …