Posts Tagged Zoe Trodd

Video: How Frederick Douglass Used Photography to Talk About Race (WGBH Forum, 2016)


Frederick Douglass was in love with photography. From his earliest known photograph in 1841 until his passing in 1895, he sat for his portrait whenever he could and became the most photographed American of the nineteenth century; more photographed than President Abraham Lincoln. In this first major exhibition of Douglass photographs, we offer a visually stunning re-introduction to America’s first black celebrity — immediately recognizable in his own lifetime by millions.

Scholars John Stauffer and Zoe Trodd are the co-curators of the exhibit [Picturing Frederick Douglass] (http://maah.org/exhibits.htm), based upon their acclaimed book about the famed abolitionist’s photographs. They join Dr. Manisha Sinha, author of The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition, to discuss the impact of the wide distribution of images of Douglass.

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LOOK! Douglassonian Muralist Shawn Dunwoody debuts distinctive Dr. Frederick Douglass stomping in his Air Force Ones, the standard uniform of Eastern Shoremen

Tarence Bailey in Rochester _ 900 South Avenue w new FD mural (June 2018)

Tarence Bailey, Sr. (U.S. Army, Ret.) and his great-uncle Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass fashion the standard uniform of contemporary Eastern Shoremen … Air Force Ones.

Last weekend in Rochester, New York on the ground once the homestead of the Anna & Frederick Douglass family indigenous Douglassonian and polymath Shawn Dunwoody, with helping hands from local students and community volunteers, created the most distinctive and modern Frederick Douglass murals in the known world.

Deviating from traditional form and fashion, Dunwoody has enlivened Dr. Douglass and brought him to life anew with two works unlike any comparable murals.

While in Rochester to connect with family and participate in ceremonies Tarence Bailey visited the 900 block of South Avenue in the Highland Park neighborhood of Rochester. It was here the former Douglass homestead stood.

Now the site serves as the campus of the Frederick Douglass Community Library, School No. 12 and the Frederick Douglass Recreation Center

I am familiar with murals in my areas and have studied Prof. Zoe Trodd’s expansive documentation of Douglass murals internationally. Dunwoody’s works are some of my personal favorites and will be included in the Frederick Douglass Mural exhibit planned for this fall.

To be continued …

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Video: “Picturing Frederick Douglass” _ Prof. Zoe Trodd (University of Nottingham)

Zoe Trodd, Professor and Chair of American Literature in the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham, draws on new research into previously uncollected photographs of Douglass to show that he was the most photographed American of the 19th century. She argues that in sitting for more photographs than any of his peers, Douglass was using photographs in multiple ways: to assert black humanity in place of the slave “thing”; to show how authentic representations could break down racial barriers; to create a black public persona within the abolitionist culture of dissent.

Trodd also outlines the visual legacy of these 160+ photographs, including protest paintings and drawings with the anti-lynching and desegregation movement, statues and sculptures from 1899 to 2010, cartoons in the 20th-century black press, and murals and street art in the North, South and West, especially murals celebrating a broader history of African American dissent. She will consider which 19th-century photographs had the most impact in this 20th-century visual legacy, address the politics of adapting the youthful, stern Douglass of earlier photographs versus the elderly, sage Douglass of later photographs, and ask whether Douglass photographs had an even greater legacy in visual culture than his famous writings had in literary texts.

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