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IUPUI Frederick Douglass Symposium


The fifth biannual Frederick Douglass Symposium at IUPUI was a great success. After two delays on account of Covid-19 restriction, the event was held online on 16-18 February 2022. In addition to scholarly papers by thirteen scholars, the events featured reading from selected Douglass speeches, a presentation by veteran Douglass re-enactor Michael Crutcher, and an interview with Crutcher on the challenges of presenting Douglass’s life to 21st century Americans. Many of the symposium’s papers will be reproduced in upcoming issues of the project’s online journal, The New North Star.


A fourth biannual symposium assessing Douglass’s place in the American reform tradition took place in October 2018, and several of its papers were published in the first issue of the project’s new online research journal, the New North Star.


A third biannual symposium on the topic of “Frederick Douglass and the Role of Oratory in African American Leadership,” was held in October 2016, to assess the project’s then forthcoming volume The Speeches of Frederick Douglass: A Critical Edition.

This conference’s papers, edited by McKivigan and Jon Rossing, were published as symposia in two journals: the Howard Journal of Communications 29 (2018) and Rhetoric Review 37 (2018):1, 1-76.


The project hosted a similar event in October 2014 for scholarly discussion of its new edition of Douglass’s 1853 novella The Heroic Slave.

Several of this conference’s papers were published in the Journal of African American History 102 (Winter 2017).


In 2012, the Douglass Papers began hosting a biannual public symposium to observe the publication of its new scholarly volumes. The October 2012 symposium featured eleven invited scholars who made presentations on the significance of the project’s new published critical edition of Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.

Papers from this symposium were collected and published in a special issue of the Journal of African American History  99, no. 1-2 (Winter/Spring 2014).