Becoming Frederick Douglass explores the inspiring story of how a man born into slavery transformed himself into one of the most prominent statesmen and influential voices for democracy in American history. Aired in 2023.
Using his writings, images and words to follow his rise to prominence against all odds, the film is rooted in the singular truth of Douglass’s life: his insistence on controlling his own narrative and his lifelong determined pursuit of the right to freedom and complete equality for African Americans.
See WXXI News Reporting on Historic Connections To Rochester
Harriet Tubman ‘Journey to Freedom’ statue on display at Washington Square Park
New memorials at Mt. Hope remember contributions of Frederick Douglass’ wife & daughter
More About the Film: Featuring acclaimed actor Wendell Pierce as the voice of Frederick Douglass.
“Given that Frederick Douglass was one of the most prolific and powerful orators of his time, we were interested in exploring how he created and controlled his image, and ultimately how he used it to shift public opinion around abolition,” Nelson said. “It was such a gift to have the inimitable Wendell Pierce provide the voice of Douglass to bring his words to life. Wendell’s dynamic performance, coupled with the many stunning photographs taken throughout Douglass’s lifetime, show how Douglass evolved to become one of the most influential and enduring social justice activists in American history.”
Born in 1818 in Maryland, Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery in 1838 and went on to become many things: abolitionist, autobiographer, essayist, diplomat, orator, editor, philosopher, political theorist, newspaper publisher and social reformer. And considering his trajectory — from enslaved to elder statesman — he was arguably the most accomplished man of his time.