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John Stauffer: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln

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Date and time
Thursday, September 30, 2010

John Stauffer, Harvard professor of English discusses his book, *Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln*. Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were the self made men of their time. One man was a former slave and a radical reformer who became one of the nation’s most brilliant writers and speakers. The other was an outsider, born dirt-poor, who became one of America’s greatest presidents. While the Civil War raged, the two titans—Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln—formed an unlikely friendship that changed the nation’s course. Stauffer traces how each man used the other—and how their political game ultimately led to mutual admiration and respect.

John Stauffer writes and lectures on the Civil War era, antislavery, social protest movements, and visual culture. He is the author of seven books and more than 45 articles, including *The Black Hearts of Men: Radical Abolitionists and the Transformation of Race* (2002), which won four major awards, including the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, the Avery Craven Book Award, and the Lincoln Prize runner-up. His essays have appeared in *Time Magazine*, *Raritan*, *New York Post*, *21st: The Journal of Contemporary Photography*, and *The Harvard Review*; and he has appeared on national radio and television shows. His new book, *GIANTS: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln*, was published in November 2008. Currently, John is completing a book with Sally Jenkins on radical interracialism and Unionism in Civil War era Mississippi. The story, *Free State of Jones*, will appear as a major motion picture by the filmmaker Gary Ross, with whom John served as a scholarly consultant. John received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1999, began teaching at Harvard that year, and was tenured in 2004. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife, Deborah Cunningham, and their two-year-old son, Erik Isaiah Stauffer.