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Frederick Douglass--the forgotten man.

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posted on Feb, 1 2016 @ 02:14 AM
His wiki entry.

Former, read escaped, slave. Abolitionist. Magnificent orator. Vice presidential candidate. ...all together an amazing man.

Yet somehow, or other, he's forgotten, or nearly so. Even by those who should know better.

A tireless worker for equal rights for all people. He once famously, or maybe not so famously, said, "I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong." I can think of some folks who could use a reminder of this simple philosophy.

Born in February of 1818 into slavery, in Talbot County, Maryland.

He was mostly self educated. As you might well imagine, an educated slave is a slave that is going to be unhappy, or more unhappy with his lot in life.

On a number of occasions he was "hired out", and after being "hired out" to William Freeland he attempted escape for the first time. Later, after have been "hired out" to one Edward Covey, in 1836 he tried and failed again... In 1837, he met a freewoman named Anna Murray, she by his own accounts renewed his hopes of eventual freedom.

Sept. 3, 1838, he jumped onto a train heading north, and arrived upon free soil, later writing:

I have often been asked, how I felt when first I found myself on free soil. And my readers may share the same curiosity. There is scarcely anything in my experience about which I could not give a more satisfactory answer. A new world had opened upon me. If life is more than breath, and the 'quick round of blood,' I lived more in one day than in a year of my slave life. It was a time of joyous excitement which words can but tamely describe. In a letter written to a friend soon after reaching New York, I said: 'I felt as one might feel upon escape from a den of hungry lions.' Anguish and grief, like darkness and rain, may be depicted; but gladness and joy, like the rainbow, defy the skill of pen or pencil.

Few, if any of us, can possibly imagine what that must feel like...

Though his freedom came with conditions.

Later that month, he married Anna Murray.

Much of his life is recorded elsewhere, and should be required reading.

He was not only a tireless advocate of abolishing slavery, but also of universal suffrage.

In 1845, he traveled abroad to Ireland and England. He was,, justifiably, amazed at the differences between England, and America...

Eleven days and a half gone and I have crossed three thousand miles of the perilous deep. Instead of a democratic government, I am under a monarchical government. Instead of the bright, blue sky of America, I am covered with the soft, grey fog of the Emerald Isle [Ireland]. I breathe, and lo! the chattel [slave] becomes a man. I gaze around in vain for one who will question my equal humanity, claim me as his slave, or offer me an insult. I employ a cab—I am seated beside white people—I reach the hotel—I enter the same door—I am shown into the same parlour—I dine at the same table—and no one is offended... I find myself regarded and treated at every turn with the kindness and deference paid to white people. When I go to church, I am met by no upturned nose and scornful lip to tell me, 'We don't allow 'n-word's in here!'

A letter to William Lloyd Garrison

He was very popular in England, his speeches drawing huge crowds to the various venues.

"Right is of no Sex – Truth is of no Color – God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren."

In 1847, he returned to the United States, and started an abolitionist newspaper called the Northern Star whose motto is above.

In his early days, he had considered the Constitution to be pro-slavery, due to the apportionment provisions/compromises enacted in it. Later, he came to hold the view that the Constitution was actually anti-slavery.

In 1848, he attended the Seneca Falls Convention, where he was the only African-american to attend, and one of only 40 men. This was a seminal moment in the suffrage movement in the United States.

Altogether? What an amazing man. This is only a small part of his life and the times he affected.

He lived to see drastic changes in American society with the passage of the 13th amendment (outlawing slavery), 14th amendment (equal protection under the law), and the 15th amendment (prohibition of denying voting rights). All due, in no small part, to his efforts, and efforts by those inspired by him.

The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.

To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.

This man has long been a hero of mine. Thanks mainly to my 4th grade teacher who was a real fan-girl. She gave me a book about him, which I read voraciously.

Along with Harriet Tubman, for some odd reason, this man is largely neglected when remembering giants in the cause of freedom, not just for blacks, but for all of us. Though I suspect that Dr. King may have been more than slightly familiar with his works...

So, I would ask that at some point this month, take a moment to remember this largely forgotten giant of American history. He deserves nothing less.

posted on Feb, 1 2016 @ 04:29 AM
a reply to: seagull

Amazing human being. He turned the idea that blacks were unintelligent savages on its head and fundamentally destroyed the justification for slavery that people had clung to for so long.

posted on Feb, 1 2016 @ 07:35 AM
a reply to: seagull

Have you ever heard of the
Frederick Douglass Republicans

This guy K Carl Smith has some great takes on the history of America and Dems vs Reps and their relationship with (especially) black Americans, American Class systems and why we are in the state we are in.
Check him out on youtube if you want your mind blown
He was also in a documentary I saw a couple years ago (it was really good but I cant remember the name)
That is where I first heard of the FD Republicans and K Carl. Very, very interesting stuff, for sure
Check it out.

posted on Feb, 1 2016 @ 07:48 AM
Impossible, haven't you heard the revised history? Only the south had slaves this is all lies!!!!

posted on Feb, 1 2016 @ 08:22 AM
I remember reading about him extensively in high school for English Composition. His autobiography blew me away.

A very admirable gentleman indeed.

Thanks for posting about this great man
Will definitely be thinking of him this month.

posted on Feb, 1 2016 @ 11:10 AM
a reply to: seagull

Thank you for this thread Seagull, saving me from having to make it. his demeanor remind me of a lion.

posted on Feb, 1 2016 @ 12:20 PM

originally posted by: seagull
His wiki entry.

Yet somehow, or other, he's forgotten, or nearly so. Even by those who should know better.

Why do you say that? Who has forgotten him who "should know better." That doesn't even make any sense. I know we studied about him in public school on the fifties, and that was way before any emphasis on Black History was even in the curriculum. And he's become even more famous since then.

Yeah, he was an amazing guy, and this is great information, but he wasn't "forgotten."

posted on Feb, 1 2016 @ 01:51 PM
Oh Btw in the same spirit of this thread check out the Gullah Wars

posted on Feb, 1 2016 @ 03:45 PM
a reply to: schuyler

I should have said the last few generations of American students...

I, too, studied him in school. But all too many of todays kids seem to not know of him, if I'm mistaken, I'm glad.

He should be mentioned in the same breath as Martin Luther King, Jr., and other giants of the Civil Rights movement.

posted on Feb, 1 2016 @ 03:49 PM
a reply to: Brotherman

Many would say that Maryland is the South... Especially back during the period of, and before, the Civil War.

I know, I don't consider Maryland the "South", either. By the same token, I don't consider, for some odd reason, Florida to be the "South".

But the laws regarding escaped slaves in the North were inexcusable by most standards of simple human dignity.

posted on Feb, 1 2016 @ 03:51 PM
a reply to: o0oTOPCATo0o

Thank you for that, I'd heard of them, but didn't know any more than the name.

posted on Feb, 1 2016 @ 03:53 PM
a reply to: Spider879

That thread slipped by me. I'll be reading it, and opining soon.

posted on Feb, 1 2016 @ 04:04 PM

originally posted by: Brotherman
Impossible, haven't you heard the revised history? Only the south had slaves this is all lies!!!!

All of the colonies used slaves, no one ever doubted that. Racism existed in the North as much as the South. The difference came when the US government and many states wanted to end the practice of slavery, and the southern states did not, as their agrarian economies were based on slavery.

After the Civil War Douglass spoke passionately against prejudice in the North as well as the South, he even spoke and wrote about Irish freedom on his trips to the British Isles.

He was one of the great icons for Liberty, white or black.

posted on Feb, 2 2016 @ 09:34 AM
a reply to: Blackmarketeer

I was being sarcastic you know... Besides I was under the impression one of the main reasons slavery was abolished by the north was because France had recently done away with slavery and that was a token political move by Lincoln to gain their support against the south.

posted on Feb, 2 2016 @ 10:43 AM
a reply to: seagull

You are very welcome. Here is a link to the IMDB page for the documentary I was talking about earlier.
It is very good and at least used to be on Netflix. Worth a watch for sure
"Runaway Slave" - Imdb

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