Timely Connections: Frederick Douglass & Scientific Racism

The Claims of the Negro

In an opinion piece for the New York Times, Eric Herschthal, a fellow at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library, suggests that we remember Frederick Douglass “as someone whose insights about scientific theories of race are every bit as relevant in our era as they were when he wrote them.” Take a look at the examples Herschthal provides about Douglass’  efforts to challenge scientific racism, including ethnology or, as it was sometimes referred to, “the science of race”. Then read a Library of Congress Folklife Today blog post discussing Douglass and his attempts to take on this issue. After, dig into related primary sources. What new insights and perspectives into racism from the past and the present do these sources help you gain?

Frederick Douglass’s Fight Against Scientific Racism The New York Times Feb. 22, 2018

Ethnology & Egypt

World’s Fair

More Frederick Douglass resources