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What Can We Learn from Frederick Douglass’ Pictures?

June 27, 2022

I recently sat down with The Federalist Society to record a podcast about an interesting aspect of Frederick Douglass’ life: his interest in photography.

Douglass is believed to have been the most photographed American of the nineteenth century; he loved having his picture taken and did so whenever he got a chance. What’s more, he gave several lectures about photography—not about the technology, which was still relatively new then, but about its philosophical meaning. What did it say about human beings that they made pictures? Douglass’ answer to that question offers us some of the most interesting aspects of his philosophical views.


That’s what we discuss, and you can listen here.

Timothy Sandefur is the Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute.



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