TBM Records, Recordings of Frederick
by Fred Morsell
| "Frederick Douglass's Greatest
a spoken word, audio series
produced by TBM Records and delivered by Fred Morsell
To order directly from TBM Records
Following his one man, two act play "Presenting Mr. Frederick Douglas"
, members of the audience
frequently say to Fred Morsell, "I so enjoyed your performance, it was
rivetting. I kept wondering, though, what did Mr. Douglass's speeches
In response to such curiosity and in order to give
listeners the opportunity to hear the splendor of Frederick Douglass's
wisdom, spirit and intelligence, TBM has produced a spoken word audio
series Frederick Douglass's Greatest Speeches.
For further information on Fred Morsell, please go to
The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro
.......... Hear a Real Audio
Also known as "Frederick Douglass's Fifth of July Speech"
Edited and abridged by Frederick A.
Recorded August 18, 1992, released January 1993
||ISBN 1-883210-00-3 || $11.99|
Disc || ISBN 1-883210-01-1|| $13.99|
The Rochester (New York) Ladies Anti-Slavery Society in
1852 invited Frederick Douglass to give a Fourth of July Oration
commemorating the United States' 76th birthday. Mr. Douglass agreed to
speak, but not on that date, saying, "This Fourth of July is yours, not
mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn." Delivered on July 5th, 1852 at
Corinthian Hall in Rochester, The Meaning of the Fourth of July for
the Negro is considered the greatest anti-slavery speech leading to
the Civil War. It reminds listeners of the noble truths upon which the
United States was founded, delineates the horrors of the slave system,
and calls upon all Americans to make the freedoms and justice celebrated
on the 4th of July a reality for all Americans.
The Lesson of the
Hour.......... Hear a Real
Audio Clip !
Edited and abridged by Frederick
Recorded September 22, 1992, released January 1993
Cassette ||ISBN 1-883210-02-X || $11.99|
| Compact Disc || ISBN 1-883210-03-8 ||
The Lesson of the Hour was first
delivered at the historic, Washington, D.C. Metropolitan African
American Methodist Episcopal Church on Sunday, January 9, 1894. One
hundred years later to the day, the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church invited
Mr. Morsell to reenact the speech. The performance was reported on the
front page of The Washington Post the next day, resulting in
Bill Moyers' inviting Mr. Morsell to return to Washington to film the
speech for the February 1994 Bill Moyers Journal. Both somber
and electrifying, The Lesson of the Hour exposes the injustices,
frantic rage and savage extravagances exacted upon the Negro after the
Of Mr. Morsell's performance, The New York Times said, "Even 100
years later, sadly enough, the speech goes to the very heart of the
black experience in America. The standing ovation given to Mr. Morsell,
whose sonorous voice stems in large part from his background as a lyric
baritone, is clearly and deservedly heartfelt."
It was during the
Chicago World's Fair of 1892, also known as the Columbian Exposition,
that Frederick Douglass began writing The Lesson of the Hour: Why Is
The Negro Lynched. Two events conspired. The Columbian Exposition
was lily white and gave no mention and accorded no honor to a single
African American man or woman. Frederick Douglass was enraged and
despondent that the rights and justice so sorely fought for during the
Civil War, and aspired to during Reconstruction, were being overridden
by an epidemic of mob violence, racism and color prejudice. While in
Chicago, he also met the brilliant, brave and black anti-lynching
crusader and journalist Ida B. Wells who told Douglass first hand of the
vicious lynchings taking place throughout the South. Miss Wells
encouraged and rekindled in Douglass the fire to write one last, great
speech. He did and, at age 76, one year before his death, delivered
The Lesson of the Hour: Why Is The Negro Lynched, a powerful,
passionate and incisive speech which describes the persistent causes of
racism and color prejudice in America--and proposes a solution:
A remarkable synergy existed between Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth
Cady Stanton and 19th century America's abolitionist and suffragist women.
To hear Douglass's defense of women's rights and his tribute to the women who shaped and
shared his life is to feel we have been touched by the mighty spirits of many indomitable women
and by the soul of Frederick Douglass.
Why I Became
A Women's Rights Man.......... Hear a Real Audio Clip ! |
Edited and abridged by Frederick A. Morsell
March 29, 1995, released August 26, 1995
Cassette|| ISBN 1-883210-04-6||
Frederick Douglass "had hardly
brushed the dust of slavery from his feet and stepped upon the free soil
of Massachusetts" when he met Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Of that meeting
"I shall never forget how she unfolded her views to me on this
question of the exclusion of women from having a hand in the governing
of herself...Mrs. Stanton knew it was not only necessary to break the
silence of women and make her voice heard, but woman must have a clear,
palpable and comprehensive measure set before her, one worthy of her
highest ambition and her best exertions."
It was Frederick Douglass, and not another woman,
who seconded Mrs. Stanton's resolution at the first women's rights
Convention at Seneca Falls, New York in July 1848 "that it was the duty
of the women of this country to secure their sacred right to the
elective franchise." Mr. Douglass continued up to the day of his death
in 1895 to articulate and defend equality for women. The 19th Amendment
to the United States Constitution was ratified on August 26, 1920 and
American women exercised their right to vote for the first time in the
November 1920 national election.
Since his portrayal of Douglass in the CBS Bi-Centennial special, We,
the Women, Fred Morsell has been intrigued by Frederick Douglass's
support of women. Producer Tanya Bickley finds Mr. Douglass's vision of
men and women as co-inheritors of the earth, its responsibilities and
its rewards a welcome message and one to be enjoyed by women and men.
Together Mr. Morsell and Ms. Bickley spent over a year choosing from 50
years of Mr. Douglass's writings on women. Mr. Morsell then forged the
choices into one stirring and comprehensive piece, Why I Became A
Woman's Rights Man, an actual Douglass speech.
of the 75th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, Mr. Morsell delivered
Why I Became A Woman's Rights Man at the Ford's Theatre, The
Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, New York and at
Smith College the weekend of August 25th, 1995. Simultaneously, TBM
released Why I Became A Woman's Rights Man on August 26th to
honor the signing of the 19th Amendment and Mr. Douglass's historic role
in that process.