Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Black History Month-Frederick Douglass

Note: I decided to do a blog entry everyday, dropping some Black History facts about some of the more lesser known and talked about black people and events involving black people that have helped shape not only the nation's history, but the world.

Frederick Douglass




I can't remember exactly how old I was, I just know I was in middle school when I first read the "Life and Times of Frederick Douglass" and just became so interested in his story. It was my first time really getting a glimpse of what slavery was about as Douglass spoke about his experiences as a slave and becoming free. At the age of 12, he was being taught the alphabet by the wife of one of his slave owners. Of course this was looked down upon by the slave owners, so Douglass taught himself how to read. He used this skill and went on to teach other slaves how to read, holding sessions during Bible Study and using the New Testament, teaching sometimes up to 40 slaves at a time. He was found out by a group of slave owners and they disbanded the group of slaves. His former slave owner sent him to work for Edward Covey, a man who was known to be a "slave-breaker". Douglass went through what was said "one of the worst beatings I've ever had" by Covey. At 16, eventually Douglass had enough and fought Covey back. After Douglass won, Covey never whipped Douglass again. This was unheard of with slaves revolting against slave owners, especially someone of Covey's reputation and word spread around Douglass standing up to his master like wildfire. One thing I thought was cool about Douglass is that being so young and how he stood up for himself and others with such a huge issue. What was I doing at 16?

In 1838, Douglass was able to successfully escape Covey's plantation and became a free man. There, he went on to become one of the most prolific public speakers on slavery and a leader in the abolitionist movement. He was a firm believer in not only equality for blacks, but for anyone of any race and even stood strongly for equality in women's rights. Before the Civil War, Douglass was one of the most famous black men in the country due to his orations on the treatment of slaves and women, always gathering large crowds during his public speeches. One of his most famous speeches came during the revealing of the Emancipation Memorial after Lincoln's death where he was the keynote speaker, where he spoke frankly on President Lincoln's stance on slavery. Before his death in 1895, Douglass was appointed such positions as being a US Marshal, Consul-General of Haiti, and was the first black to be nominated for Vice President and President of the United States.



1 comment:

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