”Frederick Douglass: In Five Speeches” with Julie Marchesi and Seun Babalola


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Frederick Douglass was not only one of our greatest activists, he was a great writer, an artist who worked in words. Director Julie Marchesi (P.O.V., American Masters, African-American Lives) and producer Seun Babalola (NOVA, The United Shades of America, Africa Everywhere) explore the growth of his mind and the power of his words in their Emmy-nominated “Frederick Douglass: In Five Speeches.”

Each speech is performed by one of the film’s all-star cast (Nicole Beharie, Colman Domingo, Jonathan Majors, Denzel Whitaker, Jeffrey Wright) and André Holland provides a narrative spine by reading from Douglas’ autobiographies. Inspired by David Blight’s magisterial biography, the film is light on didacticism but shot-through with the inspiration that can only come from one born under slavery and freed by his own actions and words.

“Frederick Douglass: In Five Speeches” is now streaming on HBO.

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