3-22-10: Douglass’ Women
The compelling story of Frederick Douglass – his birth as slave on Maryland’s Eastern Shore around 1818, his struggle to learn to read in Baltimore, his escape to freedom and his influence as orator, author and abolitionist – is well known. At least one aspect is less discussed: that while married to the black woman who bore him five children, he carried on a long-term affair with at least one white woman, and after his wife’s death he married another white woman 20 years his junior.
This is the stuff of which novels are made. That’s just what Jewell Parker Rhodes has done with her historical novel Douglass’ Women, winner of the 2003 American Book Award. Jewell Parker Rhodes is director of the Virginia G. Piper Center in Creative Writing at Arizona State University, and she joins Sheilah from a studio on ASU’s campus.
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