In the late nineteenth century, civil rights pioneers Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass lived near each other in Rochester, NY. They were friends and often supported each other as they fought for the rights of women and African Americans in America.
A new children’s book, Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, depicts the story of this historic friendship. Written by Madison author Dean Robbins, and illustrated by Sean Qualls & Selina Alko, the book imagines a conversation between the two of them over a cup of tea.
What attracted Robbins to write about this pair began with his love for heroes as a child. "I've had a whole string of heroes that I wanted to be like when I grew up," he says. "I was drawn to sports figures who were also moral exemplars and to historical figures who faced unimaginable odds."
Robbins depiction of Anthony and Douglass' friendship is not straight history, but rather "a meditation on a snowy day in Rochester, New York when these two civil rights titans, who also happen to be close friends and neighbors, sat down to talk about their work in freedom and equality and to support each other. They enjoy a blessed moment of serenity before going out to face adversity and change the world."
Even though these two subjects lived 200 years ago, Robbins says, their actions were exemplary even by modern standards. "They both insisted that the United States live up to the highest ideals of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and they never compromised their principles," he adds.
Robbins hopes kids are "inspired by these two amazing heroes and see that it is possible to make the world a better place, in spite of almost unimaginable odds."