Poster Image

Frederick Douglass


Item#: 2008SYR16

Purchase Details

11x17-inches, printed on heavy weight (100-pound) Hammermill cover paper. We package each print with a piece of chipboard in a clear plastic sleeve.

You also receive…

An information page with photos of the artist and poet, and hand-written comments from each.

Medium- and large-format posters are available by custom order. Contact us for details.

Poem Inspiration Location

Frederick Douglass

poster information


Frederick Douglass
spoke as cheering thousands sang
under this same sky

I've been writing for 30 years. Every craft takes awhile to perfect. Haiku is no different. I've tried to learn the craft. The poem itself is not important. Learning the craft is what is important -- and I know how to write.

Me and Shirley write four or five good ones a year. By myself, I would write one. We probably write one hundred versions of those four or five. By myself I needed a hundred to come up with one.

So you can see how much more efficient I've become.

I've always been fascinated with the 1860s and the Civil War. Thus Frederick Douglass became one of my heroes. When I came to Syracuse after growing up in Connecticut, I was delighted to find that he was a presence here. He was somebody who inspired a lot of people and blew away many of the perceptions about black people of the time. He was erudite, well spoken, made good arguments and lived by his brain.

For the illustration, I liked the imagery of words and singing becoming part of the sky. I sought to do that by having the sheet music be reminiscent of the birds taking off into the sky. Douglass for me is too seldom though of in color, and I felt it was important for young people to feel the reality of Douglass as still relevant today.