Fredrick Douglass was a famous African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, statesman, and a great writer. Fredrick Douglass escaped from slavery in Maryland and later become a national abolitionist leader in Massachusetts and New York. He wrote a lot of antislavery articles and he argued that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens. He also wrote a book narrating his story as a slave and his story was key tool is the fight against slavery. His story remains a key tools in the fight against modern slavery as has important lessons to teach even in the current days.
Knowledge is the pathway from slavery to freedom (Douglas, 2015). In his early life Douglass was sent to Baltimore to work for Hugh Auld, while there Hugh’s wife Sofia started teaching him the alphabet, this was a golden moment for Douglass as slaves did not go to school and they did not learn how to read and write, learning was only for the white. However Hugh was opposed to Sophia teaching Frederick Douglass and at some point she stopped and Douglass had to secretly continue learning. Finally he was able to read and write and he could now read newspapers, pamphlets, political materials, and other articles. It was through this new realm of thoughts that provoked him to question and condemn slavery. From this education is empowerment it was through gaining knowledge that Douglass was able to think and see the injustices that resulted from slavery. Douglass desired that other slaves would learn and he taught weekly Sunday school.
Frederick Douglass fought for women’s rights, in the Seneca Falls Convention he was the only African-American in attendance and when many present failed to pass a resolution asking for women’s suffrage he stood and spoke in favor of women claiming he will not accept the right to vote as a black man if women also could not claim their rights. He stated that the world would be a better place if women were engaged in the political sphere. Douglass passed a message of gender equality and respect to women and their rights (Douglass, 2014).
Douglass considered photography as a crucial way in ending slavery and racism, he claimed that the camera would not lie. He believed that a photograph would not distinguish between a white and a black. He was the most photographed American of the 19th century and he never smiled in his photographs specifically so as not to play as a happy slave in the racist caricature. From this Frederick Douglass was passing a message that people should not be discriminated based on their skin color. (Bennett, 2016).
Bennett, N. (2016). To Narrate and Denounce: Frederick Douglass and the Politics of Personal Narrative. Political Theory, 44(2), 240-264.
Douglas, F. (2015). Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglas. Xist Publishing.
Douglass, F. (2014). Knowledge in Narrative of the Life of. Race and Gender in the Making of an African American Literary Tradition, 67.