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BECOMING FREDERICK DOUGLASS explores the inspiring story of how a man born into slavery transformed himself into one of the most prominent statesmen and influential voices for democracy in American history. A co-production of Firelight Films and Maryland Public Television (MPT), the film is executive produced by Stanley Nelson and Lynne Robinson and produced and directed by Nelson and Nicole London. Acclaimed actor Wendell Pierce is featured as the voice of Frederick Douglass.

Born in 1818 in Maryland, Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery in 1838 and went on to become many things: abolitionist, autobiographer, essayist, diplomat, orator, editor, philosopher, political theorist, newspaper publisher and social reformer. And considering his trajectory — from enslaved to elder statesman — he was arguably the most accomplished man of his time.

In addition to mastering oratory, Frederick Douglass understood the incredible power of the new medium of photography and how it could be used for political and social reform. The most photographed American man of the 19th century, Douglass was fully in command of his image, presenting himself as self-possessed, dignified and masterful.

Frederick Douglass was an uncompromising and relentless campaigner for Black equality. He was an outspoken advocate—even a revolutionary—who evolved to become one of the most influential and enduring social justice activists in American history.