Phoenixville schools to host Frederick Douglass performance Feb. 15

Fred Morsell as Frederick Douglass.  Phoenixville High School will host a public performance by Morsell on Feb. 15.
SUBMITTED PHOTO Fred Morsell as Frederick Douglass. Phoenixville High School will host a public performance by Morsell on Feb. 15.

PHOENIXVILLE >> The Phoenixville Area School District has invited the community to a performance of “Presenting Frederick Douglass: His Life and Times” on Thursday, Feb. 15, at Phoenixville Area Middle School.

The performance, which begins at 7:30 p.m., is free and will feature Fred Morsell, a scholar on the life and times of Douglass and who is well-known for his portrayals of the historic figure.

Morsell brings Frederick Douglass to life on stage through his unique and highly praised presentation which has inspired hundreds of audiences across the country, as he imparts Douglass’ message of justice and self-worth.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress:” Frederick Douglass proved his famous quote to be true as he rose from slavery to statesman, escaping bondage at the young age of 20. An abolitionist, statesman, writer, orator and adviser to Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass is deemed the most important black American leader of the 19th century.


PASD is eager to share the profound history of Douglass through the Feb. 15 celebratory event and also through a year-long study and exploration at the high school of the life and teachings of Frederick Douglass.

“This year at PAHS, we have sought to embrace the wise words of Frederick Douglass as our theme throughout the building—‘If there is no struggle, there is no progress,’” said Carig Parkinson, Phoenixville Area High School principal.

“Teaching and education require a sense of struggle when done in earnest and with tremendous passion. To care, to motivate and to want something more for someone else is an inherently difficult and at times frustrating task. But the implications of our struggle are enormous-our collective future rests in the results of our work,” said Parkinson.

“We encourage all to attend the celebratory event of the bicentennial of Frederick Douglass’ birth, and to hear through Fred Morsell the inspiring and life-changing words of Douglass that have changed history, and the lives of men, women and children in America,” he said.

Douglass’ autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,” is known as “one of the most compelling testaments to the achievement of literacy in American letters” and “one of the 88 books that shaped America.”

A partnership with the Frederick Douglass Family Initiative and Enduring Impact Productions has resulted in 1,400 books being donated to the entire student body of PAHS.

Enduring Impact Productions, based in Chester County, is in the process of producing a full-length feature film about the life of Douglass.