Frederick Douglass by an unidentified photographer, circa 1850 (after c. 1847 daguerreotype). | National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.


THROUGH THE LENS of prints, photographs, and ephemera, ‘One Life: Frederick Douglass’ explores the life and legacy of one of the 19th century’s most influential writers, speakers and intellectuals. “One Life” opens June 16. Douglass was a radical activist who devoted his life to abolitionism and rights for all. The exhibition will showcase over 35 objects, including select pages from Douglass’s letter to Abraham Lincoln”; portraits of activists in Douglass’s circle, such as Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth; portraits by the prominent Black photographers Augustus Washington and Cornelius Marion Battey; and portraits of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Langston Hughes, all of whom carried on his legacy. “One Life: Frederick Douglass” is guest curated by John Stauffer, the Sumner R. and Marshall S. Kates Professor of English and African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Ann Shumard, the National Portrait Gallery’s senior curator of photographs, served as consulting curator.

“One Life: Frederick Douglass” (June 16, 2023-April 21, 2024) is accompanied by other related Portrait Gallery exhibitions, including:


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The Portrait Gallery is located at 8th and G Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 20001, and is open 364 days a year from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free.


This post is sponsored by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery