Kenneth B. Morris, Jr.: Mr. Morris descends from two of the most important names in American history: he is the great-great-great grandson of Frederick Douglass and the great-great grandson of Booker T. Washington. His life until the year 2007 could be described as distinguished yet decisively disengaged from his lineage until Providence called.
Ken’s career and life path are driven by a mission to end human trafficking and all forms of servitude with a clear focus on his organization’s mission To Advance Freedom through Knowledge and Strategic Action. He could not have predicted that one day he would so fully embrace and be defined by the characteristics that so closely defined his famous ancestors.
Ken is President of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI), a public charity that endeavors to create a modern Abolitionist Movement in schools all over the country through the vehicle of Service-Learning curricula called History, Human Rights and the Power of One. Some of the work done by Ken and the organization since 2008 include: reaching approximately 60,000 middle and high school students through the Frederick Douglass Dialogues Tour; appearing on television, radio and in newspaper articles (including CNN, Newsweek Video, PBS, NPR, The Tavis Smiley Show, The Bev Smith Show, the Washington Post, USA Today and The CBS Evening News), creating the Abolition Day Project allowing students to bring awareness of human trafficking to millions of people all over the United States and initiating HR 929, the House Resolution to recognize Abolition Day internationally as well as the work of Frederick Douglass and FDFI toward ending slavery.
In addition, Ken has given lectures about his family history at universities all over the country including Columbia University, Morehouse College, Kennesaw State, UNLV, Tuskegee University, Loyola University Chicago and Yale University. Ken appeared in the National Geographic documentary Civil Warriors commemorating the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War and he appeared in the 2015 History Channel documentary Blood and Glory: The Civil War in Color, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the end of the war. Ken recently contributed the afterword to Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s Most Photographed American to be published November 2015 (Authors: John Stauffer, Zoe Trodd, Celeste-Marie Bernier with a foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W. W. Norton & Company, 2015). Ken is honored to have been a keynote speaker at the United Nations on several occasions.
Ken is an Adjunct Professor at the University of La Verne. He received the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of La Verne January, 2012. In June 2012, he received the National Park Services Network To Freedom Underground Railroad Frederick Douglass Legacy Award. He is the first recipient to receive this recognition. In January 2014, Ken was awarded the Women’s E-News 21 Leaders for the 21st Century Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism. He is the first male recipient to be honored with this prestigious award.