How to Watch HBO’s ‘Frederick Douglass in Five Speeches’: Is the Documentary Streaming?

The documentary brings Douglass’ words to life


After Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery at the age of 20, he became one of the most famous Black men in the country. His fame also grew around his writing, words and speeches that he gave in a powerful oration. 

Douglass was entirely self-taught in reading and writing, and his speeches provoked much thought about the state of America while he was alive. They still resonate today. Though Douglass’ voice was never recorded, his speeches can still be read, and now heard.

In honor of Black history month, many may be wondering how to watch HBO’s original documentary “Frederick Douglass in Five Speeches.” Here’s all the info you need.

When Does “Frederick Douglass in Five Speeches” Premiere?

The documentary first aired Wednesday, Feb. 23 on HBO at 9p.m. Eastern and Pacific time. 

Will the “Frederick Douglass in Five Speeches” Be Streaming?

The documentary is available to stream exclusively on HBO Max, and is also available to watch on HBO On Demand.

Who Is in “Frederick Douglass in Five Speeches?

Actors Nicole Beharie, Colman Domingo, Jonathan Majors, Denzel Whitaker and Jeffrey Wright perform the legendary speeches, each written at a different moment in the history of 19th century America that corresponded to different stages of Douglass’ life. Famed scholars David Blight, Henry Louis Gates Jr. and others provide context for the speeches, and André Holland reads from Douglass’ autobiographies. André Holland (“Moonlight”) will also appear.

What Is “Frederick Douglass in Five Speeches” About?

Inspired by David Blight’s Pulitzer Prize winning biography, “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom” and executive produced by scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the film features five speeches written by the prominent anti-slavery activist.

The lineup includes: “I Have Come To Tell You Something About Slavery” (1841) performed by Denzel Whitaker, “Country, Conscience, And The Anti-Slavery Cause” (1847) performed by Jonathan Majors, “What, To The Slave, Is The Fourth Of July?” (1852) performed by Nicole Beharie, “The Proclamation And A Negro Army” (1863) performed by Colman Domingo and “Lessons Of The Hour” (1894) performed by Jeffrey Wright.