Lampe, Gregory P. 1954-
LAMPE, Gregory P. 1954-
PERSONAL: Born July 29, 1954, in New Rochelle, NY; son of Harold W. and Evelyn E. (Krakehl) Lampe; married Jody K. Lee, October 3, 1981; children: Thea, Tessa. Ethnicity: "German-Hungarian." Education: Slippery Rock University, B.S., 1976; Northern Illinois University, M.A., 1978; University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ph.D., 1995. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Lutheran. Hobbies and other interests: Human rights, homelessness, education, and mediation.
CAREER: University of Wisconsin—LaCrosse, lecturer of speech, 1978-83; University of Wisconsin—Marshfield/Wood Co., associate professor of communication arts, 1983-87; University of Wisconsin-Rock County, Janesville, associate professor of communication arts, 1987-2000; University of Wisconsin Colleges, Madison, associate vice-chancellor for academic affairs, 2000—.
MEMBER: International Listening Association, National Communication Association, American Association of Higher Education, Wisconsin Association of Mediators (board of directors), Wisconsin Mediation Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: Excellence in Teaching Award, 1997; George and Mavis Steil Teaching Excellence Award, 1999; Training Methods Award, Wisconsin Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals, 2002; President's Award, Wisconsin Association of Mediators, 2002.
Frederick Douglass: Freedom's Voice, 1818-1845, Michigan State University Press (East Lansing, MI), 1995.
Building Bridges: Reaching People through Communication, Extension Publications (Madison, WI) 2000.
SIDELIGHTS: After completing a close textual analysis of Frederick Douglass's "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?" educator and writer Gregory Lampe found himself completely captivated by the former slave-turned-fugitive-turned-crusader. Lampe's fascination eventually led to the writing of his first book, Frederick Douglass: Freedom's Voice, 1818-1845.
Remembering his initial interest in Douglass, Lampe told CA: "Here was a person who was born into slavery, who was denied a formal education, and who had endured the physical brutality and the soul-crushing force of the peculiar institution. Yet, he emerged as among the greatest orators and reformers of the nineteenth century. Indeed, the more I read about Douglass, the more I wanted to know about him and his oratory."
Lampe's research continued until he uncovered new information about the reformer's experiences as a fugitive slave. This discovery is what sets his treatment of Douglass apart from those of other writers. Douglass has long remained under the self-perpetuated myth that he was an ex-slave who was incredibly articulate, but Lampe dispels that myth by proving that Douglass benefitted from the oral culture embedded in the slave community. At a young age Douglass recognized the power of the spoken word, and though he became literate by accident, he came across a book on public speaking and upon reading it, realized the direction his own path must take. "What emerges from this picture is a Frederick Douglass who looks to this reviewer much more like the twentieth century's Martin Luther King than previously recognized," wrote Leslie Friedman Goldstein in the Review of Politics.
"My work provokes a deeper and richer understanding of this renowned orator's emergence as an important voice in the crusade to end slavery," Lampe told CA. Critics like Donald R. Shaffer agree with this assessment. In his review for Civil War History, Shaffer asserted: "In short, while Freedom's Voice does not completely overturn previous scholarship on Frederick Douglass, it helps present a more nuanced portrait of the early career of the most famous African American in the nineteenth-century United States. Lampe's work is especially valuable because it concentrates on what generated Douglass's fame in the first place: his skill as a public speaker." The critic concluded: "Indeed, this meticulous study of Frederick Douglass's oratorical training and early career should remind scholars that however well they think they know as famous a personality as Douglass, there are still sometimes important things to learn and new interpretations to draw."
The only drawback cited by critics relates to Lampe's literary style, as noted by Library Journal contributor Harry Frumerman: "The writing is straightforward but burdened by excessive detail." Goldstein similarly commented that "the depth and detail of the research is impressive, although the actual accounts can become tedious and repetitious to someone reading the book as anything other than a scholar."
Included in Lampe's book is a complete itinerary of Douglass's oratorical activities, correcting errors and omissions in previously published works, as well as the new speech texts Lampe discovered. As David Henry wrote on the Michigan State University Press Web site: "The project exemplifies the potential of primary source research for amending or correcting perspectives on significant historical moments. . . . This is a special book that all scholars of rhetoric and history will want to own."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
African-American Review, spring, 2000, Leslie R. Miller, review of Frederick Douglass: Freedom's Voice, 1818-1845, p. 162.
Civil War History, December, 1998, Donald R. Shaffer, review of Frederick Douglass, p. 306.
Library Journal, June 15, 1998, Harry Frumerman, review of Frederick Douglass, p. 92.
Review of Politics, spring, 1999, Leslie Friedman Goldstein, review of Frederick Douglass, pp. 354-356.
Michigan State University Press,http://www.msupress.msu.edu/ (October 2, 2002).