Frederick Douglass In Five Speeches Key Art

Revolution starts with a voice. HBO has released the trailer for the documentary film, “Frederick Douglass: In Five Speeches,” executive produced by scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr

The film brings to life five legendary speeches from the most famous American anti-slavery activist to further understand his story and the story of our country. 

Acclaimed actors Nicole Beharie, Colman Domingo, Jonathan Majors, Denzel Whitaker and Jeffrey Wright draw from five of Douglass’ legendary speeches, to represent a different moment in the tumultuous history of 19th century America as well as a different stage of Douglass’ long and celebrated life. 

Famed scholars David Blight, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and others provide context for the speeches, and, along with André Holland’s readings from Douglass’ autobiographies, remind us that Frederick Douglass’ words about racial injustice still resonate deeply today.

The speeches include:

  • “I Have Come To Tell You Something About Slavery” (1841) performed by Denzel Whitaker. At an anti-slavery convention, Douglass recounts his story of being raised as a slave publicly for the first time.
  • “Country, Conscience, And The Anti-Slavery Cause” (1847) performed by Jonathan Majors. Douglass addresses the American Anti-Slavery Society on his return from the British Isles which he found to be more accepting and equitable than his own country.
  • “What, To The Slave, Is The Fourth Of July?” (1852) performed by Nicole Beharie. Douglass reminds his audience of the continuing enslavement of his people, 76 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
  • “The Proclamation And A Negro Army” (1863) performed by Colman Domingo. Douglass responds to the Emancipation Proclamation and calls for the Black man to be allowed to fight in the war.
  • “Lessons Of The Hour” (1894) performed by Jeffrey Wright. Douglass urges America to eliminate prejudice and look to its founding principles.

Frederick Douglass: In Five Speeches” premieres on Wednesday, February 23 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.

Watch the trailer below. 

This is going to be good! 

Will you be tuned in?

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