Frederick Douglass

America's Prophet

By D. H. Dilbeck

208 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 7 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-5904-6
    Published: February 2020
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-3618-4
    Published: February 2018
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-3619-1
    Published: February 2018

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From his enslavement to freedom, Frederick Douglass was one of America's most extraordinary champions of liberty and equality. Throughout his long life, Douglass was also a man of profound religious conviction. In this concise and original biography, D. H. Dilbeck offers a provocative interpretation of Douglass's life through the lens of his faith. In an era when the role of religion in public life is as contentious as ever, Dilbeck provides essential new perspective on Douglass's place in American history.

Douglass came to faith as a teenager among African American Methodists in Baltimore. For the rest of his life, he adhered to a distinctly prophetic Christianity. Imitating the ancient Hebrew prophets and Jesus Christ, Douglass boldly condemned evil and oppression, especially when committed by the powerful. Dilbeck shows how Douglass's prophetic Christianity provided purpose and unity to his wide-ranging work as an author, editor, orator, and reformer. As "America's Prophet," Douglass exposed his nation’s moral failures and hypocrisies in the hopes of creating a more just society. He admonished his fellow Americans to truly abide by the political and religious ideals they professed to hold most dear. Two hundred years after his birth, Douglass's prophetic voice remains as timely as ever.

About the Author

D. H. Dilbeck is a historian from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and author of A More Civil War.
For more information about D. H. Dilbeck, visit the Author Page.


“A superb account of one man’s 50-year fight for human rights and freedom in America. Recommended for those interested in the U.S. Middle Period, Civil War, African American history, and all readers.”--Library Journal, starred review

“D. H. Dilbeck does a very fine job assessing and then discussing the importance of the black prophetic voice to this reformer and Christian activist.”--Spirituality & Practice

“Dilbeck has produced a religious biography that sheds light on the sacred sources of a well-known public career.”--Choice

“In this concise biography, D.H. Dilbeck focuses on the development of Frederick Douglas’s prophetic Christianity and its ‘core theological convictions’ as integral to his political activism.”--Journal of the Civil War Era

“Although his early religious interests are usually missing from most accounts, in Frederick Douglass: America’s Prophet Dilbeck insists that ‘Douglass held fast to the Christian faith his entire adult life.’”--Claremont Review of Books

“Offers a religiously oriented study—not a conventional biography—of Frederick Douglass, emphasizing the pervasive importance of Christianity in his life and thought . . . Compact and attractively written.”--Journal of American History