On the Screen: Frederick Douglass

Today (September the 3rd) is the anniversary of Frederick Douglass' 1838 escape to freedom. On September 3, 1838 Douglass escaped bondage with the help of free woman, Anna Murray (his wife-to-be). According to IMDB there have been 43 portrayals of Douglass in film and in series. In honor of the abolitionist and orator's escape we will highlight a few of these film and series portrayals. 

Glory (1989) 
Played by Raymond St. Jacques

Copper (2013)
Episode: Aileen Aroon 

Played by Eamonn Walker

American Experience (2013)
Part 1, 2, and 3 
Played by Richard Brooks / Anthony Michael Hobbs (as Young Frederick Douglass) / Leiv Clegg (as Teenaged Frederick Douglass)

Drunk History (2010) 
Vol. 5: Featuring Will Ferrell 

Played by Don Cheadle (as Fredrick Douglass)

North and South (1985)
Book I - (6 episodes)

Played by Robert Guillaume

Underground (2017) 
Episode: Whiteface

Played by John Legend 

Frederick Douglass: Pathway from Slavery to Freedom (2010) 
Played by Jamie Hector / Malik Goethe (as Young Frederick Douglass) / Kendall Jones (as Young Teen Frederick Douglass)

Presenting Mr. Frederick Douglass (1994)

Played by Fred Morsell

Epic Rap Battles of History  (2016)
Frederick Douglass vs Thomas Jefferson 

Played by J.B. Smoove

I have found four instances of Keith David playing Douglass so I decided to dedicate the tenth slot to his portrayals.

Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony

God in America (2010)
A Nation Reborn/A New Light   

The North Star (2016)

In 'The Gettysburg Address he will be playing Douglass again. This time he will be voicing the legend. The 2017 project is currently in post-production.

As stated above there are over 40 projects that feature this amazing historical figure. Although they may seem like a lot to many, I firmly believe there can always be more. I for one, would love a romantic film about Frederick Douglass and Anna Murray. What do you think? And have you watched any of these portrayals? 


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