- Kenneth B. Morris, founder of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives and descendant of both Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington
- Manisha Sinha, author of The Slave's Cause: A History of Abolition, which details the abolitionist movement among African Americans and which won the Douglass Prize last year.
- David Blight, a man who needs no introduction, but whose magisterial biography of Frederick Douglass just came out in October to a stream of well-deserved positive reviews.
- Christopher Bonner, professor at University of Maryland, who is finishing a manuscript on black citizenship.
- Noelle Trent, Director of Interpretation, Collections, and Education at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, who has finished a dissertation on Douglass and American exceptionalism.
Oh, yes, and they invited me, too. My piece will be on Anna Douglass. I originally wanted to go in a different direction about Douglass and women's rights, but Carol Faulker did a much better job in her paper at the Paris conference, so I'm hoping that she publishes that. Then, after reading all of the reviews of David Blight's book, in which the reviewers still could not seem to understand Anna as more than a cliché of the long-suffering woman-behind-the-man (which is not how Blight portrays her, and certainly not how I wrote about her), I thought that I'd grant her some dignity by discussing some of the difficulties and the importance of understanding her as an historical actor.
I also confess that I am the reason that this roundtable was not published sooner. As mentioned at the beginning of my talk in Paris, my father died in September, which threw many things off the rails and required many an extension of deadlines, this being one. So, my apologies to the participants, organizers, and audience who anticipated this forum sooner. My gratitude also to Keisha N. Blain, the senior editor of Black Perspectives, as well as her staff, for being so patient with me.
This should be an exciting and interesting week of essays to read, given the different directions each scholar approaches our subject. Douglass is an endlessly fascinating man engaged in an endlessly fascinating era.