John L. Severance Fund 1995.225
In addition to his work as an abolitionist, Frederick Douglass also supported women's rights and attended a convention for women's suffrage on February 20, 1895, the day of his death.
Charles White worked with Robert Blackburn, an African American master lithographer, to create this depiction of the abolitionist and civil rights leader Frederick Douglass (1817–1895). White felt that the images of black Americans that proliferated throughout art history were, in his words, "a plague of distortions," and he sought to create his own representations that heroicized such figures. Here, Douglass—an escaped slave—meets the viewer's gaze confidently and directly, spotlit by a white border.
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