Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Re-emergence of Frederick Douglass during the 1960s

By Kenton Rambsy and Howard Rambsy II

NYTimes Chronicle Douglass findings

As part of a project we’re producing on Frederick Douglass, we were taking a look at Google’s Ngram Viewer as well as NYTimes Chronicle to track the word usage of “Frederick Douglass” over the last century.

For some time now, based on readings and conversations with fellow scholars, we’ve had the sense that Douglass gained new popularity during the 1960s. As the findings from Ngram Viewer and the Times dataset indicate, it was during that time period that “Frederick Douglass” began to appear with frequency again.

Ngram Viewer Douglass findings

In the Times, Douglass is at the height of mentions in the late 1860s. But for more of the 1900s, he is rarely noted in The New York Times until the 1960s, where he has steadily been referenced for the last 40 years. The findings from Ngram Viewer highlight the spike in Douglass mentions between in the 1960s and onward.

#FrederickDouglass: Technology & African American Literary Studies
African American Language and Culture Lab

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