Pictures and Power

BookPictures and Power

Pictures and Power

Imaging and Imagining Frederick Douglass 1818-2018

Liverpool Studies in International Slavery, 12


August 1st, 2021



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Pictures and Power: Imaging and Imagining Frederick Douglass 1818-2018 is the result of decades of collaborations and conversations among academics, artists, and activists living and working in the UK and the US. For the first time, contributors map Douglass’ eclectic and experimental visual archive across an array of aesthetic, social, political, cultural, historical, ideological, and philosophical contexts. While Douglass the activist, diplomat, statesman, politician, autobiographer, orator, essayist, historian, memoirist, correspondent, and philosopher have been the focus of a scholarly industry over the decades, Douglass the art historian and the subject of photographs, paintings, prints, and sculpture let alone mass visual culture has only begun to be explored. Across this volume, scholars share their groundbreaking research investigating Douglass’ significance as the subject of visual culture and as himself a self-reflexive image-maker and radical theorist. Pictures and Power has come to life from a conviction endorsed by Douglass himself: the battleground against slavery and the fight for equal rights had many staging grounds and was by no means restricted to the plantation, the antislavery podium,  the legal court, the stump circuit, the campaign trail, or even the educational institution but rather bled through every arena of imaginative, political and artistic life.

Author Information

Celeste-Marie Bernier is Professor of United States and Atlantic Studies, University of Edinburgh. Bill E. Lawson is Emeritus, Distinguished Professor in Philosophy at the University of Memphis.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
List of Illustrations xi
Acknowledgements xiv
Deborah Willis 1
Celeste-Marie Bernier and Bill E. Lawson 7
Introduction: ‘Paint me as I am’: The Many Faces of Frederick Douglass
Celeste-Marie Bernier and Bill E. Lawson 19
Part I Imaging Frederick Douglass
1 P ictures and Progress: Frederick Douglass and the Beginnings of an African American Aesthetic in Photography
Donna M. Wells 43
2 The Abolitionist and the Camera: Frederick Douglass’ Photographic Half-Century
Zoe Trodd 57
3 Anna Murray Douglass, ‘The Mother of Cedar Hill’:Photography and the Representation of Nineteenth-Century Black Women’s Activism
Earnestine Jenkins 77
4 ‘A Faithful Representation of the Man?’ The Pre-Civil War ‘Sorrow Images’ of Frederick Douglass
Celeste-Marie Bernier 105
5 Last Objects: Death, Autobiography and the Final Imprint
Fionnghuala Sweeney 143
Part II Imagining Frederick Douglass
6 Transatlantic Portrayals of Frederick Douglass and his Liberating Sojourn in Music and Visual Arts 1845–2015
Alan Rice 167
7 Cedar Hill: Frederick Douglass’ Second Skin
Jeffrey C. Stewart 189
8 Frederick Douglass in the Age of Moving Pictures
Hannah Durkin 231
9 Looking Forward and Looking Back: Rashid Johnson and Frederick Douglass on Photography
Shawn Michelle Smith 255
10 Viral Virtual Varicose Douglass Inside the World Wide Web: Or How to Make a Great Black Man Invisible
Marcus Wood 275
11 Subverting the Racist Lens: Frederick Douglass, Humanity and the Power of the Photographic Image
Bill E. Lawson and Maria Brincker 299
John Stauffer 329
Notes on Contributors 333
Index 339