/  02.27.2022

Esteemed historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is calling for Frederick Douglass to be placed on one of the United State’s dollars. 

In a recent interview with Axios, Gates said that Douglas remains “essential to the nation” long after the historical moment he lived through. 

“Frederick Douglass has assumed his place not only as one of America’s great orators but also as one of the writers of the nineteenth century,” Gated said.

“Was Douglass sometimes conservative, by today’s political standards Absolutely! Was he sometimes radical? Of course, that goes without saying.”

According to the outlet, Gates’ request is feasible however it would take several years for it to actually happen. A Federal commision would have to study it, design it and create new anti-counterfeit measures for banks, Axios reported.

The site noted how a commision approved Harriet Tubman to be placed on the $20 in 2013 while Barack Obama was president. They set a date of 2030, back then, for when the official Tubman bill would be printed and officially introduced. 

Gates served as the executive producer and a narrator of the recently released “Frederick Douglass: In Five Speeches,” documentary, which is streaming on HBO Max.

The documentary is inspired by David Blight’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom.”

Nicole Behari, Colman Domingo, Jonathan Majors, Jeffry Wright, and Denzel Whitaker, among other actors, read five of Douglass’ speeches in the Julia Marchesi-directed documentary.

Gates suggested adding Douglass to U.S. currency during the launch of the latest season of his PBS show “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” 

This season the show takes a look at the backgrounds of Broadway stars Leslie Odom, Jr., Nathan Lane, and more, according to Axios.

In 2017, the legendary abolitionist was placed on a U.S. quarter. 

The coin showed Douglass writing in front of his Southeast Washington, D.C., home where he lived until his death in 1895.

About 400 million Frederick Douglass quarters went into circulation, according to The United States Mint.


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