History U | The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass

The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass

This History U course probes the nature of the life, work, and thought of the nineteenth-century abolitionist, orator, and author Frederick Douglass.


Course Instructor: Professor David Blight, Yale University
Eligibility: High school students


Image Source: Engraving of Frederick Douglass from Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom, 1855 (The Gilder Lehrman Institute, GLC05820)

View of Frederick Douglass's portrait taken from his autobiography My Bondage and my Freedom
  • History U

  • Free for high school students

Course Description

Using Frederick Douglass’s diaries, memoirs, and speeches, this History U course will examine in depth the public and private sides of Douglass’s life and his importance as a thinker and as a political activist in the great dramas of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.

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The views expressed in this course are those of Dr. David Blight.


  • Twenty-four video sessions led by Professor David Blight
  • Links to optional resources
  • Short quizzes to review your knowledge
  • A certificate of completion for 12 hours of course time

How to Access

  1. Click Log In and either log into your account or click the Sign Up link on the login screen to create an account.
  2. Click the Register Now button and complete the order form.
  3. After registering, you may access your course by signing in and visiting your My Courses link under My Account.

Course Introduction

Justin Emrich explains what you will learn in this course.

About the Scholar

David Blight, Sterling Professor of History, of African American Studies, and of American Studies, Yale University

David Blight is the Sterling Professor of History, of African American Studies, and of American Studies and the director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. His scholarly work focuses on the Civil War and Reconstruction, American cultural history, American historical memory, and African American history. Dr. Blight has been a guest on Inside the Vault and other Gilder Lehrman programs. His book Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom received the Pulitzer Prize and Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize.

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