Sunday, January 11, 2015

Are We Finally Getting a Frederick Douglass Movie?

I have been teaching Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave in my United States history survey course for fifteen years.  It is the most teachable primary source I have ever encountered. Nearly every time I teach this text I tell my students that it would make a great movie. There are so many moving scenes:  the shooting of Denby by Mr. Gore, Frederick's fight with Mr. Covey, the attempt by Sophia Auld to teach young Frederick to read, etc...

This is a slave story.  This is an American history. (It works very well when read in the same semester as Ben Franklin's Autobiography).  This is a human story.  And now, if Henry Louis Gates's Twitter feed is correct (or Elizabeth Alexander's retweet is correct), it may finally be coming to the big screen.  It looks like the movie will be based on David Blight's forthcoming biography of Douglass.  Stay tuned.

UPDATE:  Gates's tweet seems to have disappeared.  Let me know if you find it on his feed.  Maybe he let the cat out of the bag too quickly.