Frederick Douglass

The writings and life of Frederick Douglass have served as an important inspiration to American composers, from Dorothy Rudd Moore's opera Frederick Douglass to the songs of Adolphus C. Hailstork.

Photo: Frederick Douglass, ca. 1879, public domain

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Born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Frederick Douglass taught himself to read and write and escaped to the north when he was 20 years old. His 1845 autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass cemented his importance as an abolitionist and civil rights orator and writer.

For more about Frederick Douglass, please visit the links listed under “Related Information.”

Related Information



Sheet Music

Fourth of July Speech

Composer(s): Dorothy Rudd Moore

Buy via American Composers Alliance

Second Anthology of Art Songs by Black American Composers (Out-of-Print)

Composer(s): Leslie Adams, Adolphus Hailstork, John Rosamond Johnson, Hall Johnson, Betty Jackson King, Howard Swanson, John W. Work III

Song(s): "Prayer" (H. Leslie Adams)
"Flying" (H. Leslie Adams)
"Midas, Poor Midas" (H. Leslie Adams)
"Christ at a Wedding" (H. Leslie Adams)
"The Future" (T.J. Anderson)
"I Want to Be Free" (T.J. Anderson)
"People" (T.J. Anderson)
"Life" (T.J. Anderson)
"Hymn to Parnassus"(R. Nathaniel Dett)
"Music I Heard with You" (Roger Dickerson)
"I Dream a World" (Uzee Brown Jr.)
"If He Only Walked in Gardens" (Mark Fax)
"Entreat Me Not" (Mark Fax)
"Slave Song" (Adolphus Hailstork)
"Songs of Love and Justice": "Justice," "Difficulties," "Decisions," "Love" (Adolphus Hailstork)
"Four Love Songs: "My Heart to Thy Heart," "Invitation to Love," "Longing," "Goodnight," "If we must die"(Adolphus Hailstork)
"Three Simple Songs": "In Vain," "The Daffodils," "Christmas Everywhere" (Adolphus Hailstork)
"Lil' gal" (J. Rosamond Johnson)
"Crossing the Bar" (Hall Johnson)
"The Foundling" (Hall Johnson)
"Thou Art My Lute" (Thomas Kerr Jr.)
"In Memoriam" (Thomas Kerr Jr.)
"Soliloquy (Haunted)" (Thomas Kerr Jr.)
"When You Feel a Little Blue" (James Lee III)
"Three Dunbar Poems": "Compensation," "Theology," "Dawn" (Betty Jackson King)
"Hatred" (Robert L. Morris)
"Ubique" (Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson)
"The Faithless Shepherdess" (Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson)
From "Thirteen Jazz Settings": "In Case You Put Me Down," "They All Say You're Lovely," "No, Babe, We Never Swing," "You are Not Quite the Air," "In Your Arms Baby" (Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson)
"One Day" (Howard Swanson)
"Snow Dunes" (Howard Swanson)
"Breathe on Me, Breath of God" (John W. Work, III)

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