Our Composite Nation: Frederick Douglass’ America

Our Composite Nation: Frederick Douglass' America

Photos courtesy of New-York Historical Society

Tour the exhibition Our Composite Nation: Frederick Douglass’ America at the New-York Historical Society, the oldest museum in New York City.

  • Learn about Douglass’s “Composite Nation” speech and speaking tour in the Northeast and Upper Midwest
  • Explore the transformative years of Reconstruction or the “Second Founding” when massive changes were being made to the US Constitution.
  • Discover Frederick Douglass’s life as a formerly enslaved person, as a respected orator and as a leader in the abolitionist movement.

About this Event:

The New-York Historical Society, the first museum in New York City, brings to life Frederick Douglass’ vision of freedom, citizenship, and equal rights in a new ongoing special installation, Our Composite Nation: Frederick Douglass’ America. Inspired by the speech “Composite Nation,” which Douglass delivered around the country in the years following the Civil War, this timely display is based on research from the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by New-York Historical Scholar Trustee David W. Blight. The mission of this new nation, Douglass declared, was to provide the world “a composite, perfect illustration of the unity of the human family.” For what was the U.S., he said, but “the most conspicuous example of composite nationality in the world?”

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