Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass:  Free Human Being and Freethinker

Blue Ridge Center for Lifelong Learning

Fall 2019

Course Description:

The most photographed person in America during the 19th Century, former slave Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was one of our great orators and writers. Friend and colleague of Lucretia Mott, William Lloyd Garrison and others, Douglass’ wisdom reaches far beyond abolition to obstacles that still stand in the way of full equality, justice and freedom.

This class will engage his personal story of liberation in body and mind as a template for addressing contemporary issues with critical reasoning and freethought.

Readings will be posted on the class website each week.


Chris Highland is a humanist freethinker with a background in ministry, interfaith chaplaincy and non-profit work. Author of A Freethinker’s Gospel and other books, Chris also writes the weekly “Highland Views” column for the Citizen-Times. His website is

Course Outline (tentative) and Readings

Week One:

The Life of Frederick Douglass

Week Two:

The Freethought of a Free Human Being

Week Three:

Hearing and heeding his voice today