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Visual Evidence

Illustration 1: Frederick Douglass Running Away.

[Illustration 1] Frederick Douglass Running Away with link to larger version of image.
(Library of Congress)

This is a drawing on a song sheet of Frederick Douglass running away. Jesse Hutchinson, who is mentioned on the song sheet, was an abolitionist songster who traveled widely to promote antislavery ideas. The term "peculiar institution" refers to slavery in the American South.The words on the song sheet may be difficult to make out, but try to read as much as you can before referring to the transcription.

Questions for Illustration 1

1) In what ways does this drawing reflect escape attempts made by Douglass and other enslaved African Americans?

2) If you were newly freed, how would you feel about being featured in a song? Would you be proud or scared?

3) What do you think about the phrase "A Graduate from the Peculiar Institution"? Do you think this is the best way to describe Douglass's and other freedom seekers' experiences? Why or why not?


Click for a larger version of Illustration 1.

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