Fred Morsell began to study Frederick Douglass in the fall of 1984. A black clergyman friend asked him to help develop alternative programs for inner city youth that would help them find a sense of self-respect and belief in themselves — an antidote to the environment of drugs and hopelessness in which they lived. Morsell read Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. He said the book “practically blew me away. It read like a screenplay, because Douglass’ descriptions of the events of his life were so visually intense and dramatic. The images literally jumped off the page at me.

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