Frederick Douglass Had Cool Hair


Frederick Douglass Had Cool Hair Essay, Research Paper

Frederick Douglass Had Cool Hair

Frederick Douglass was born in slavery as Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey

near Easton in Talbot County, Maryland. Duglass was never sure of the exact year of his

birth, but he knew that it was 1817 or 1818. His father was white (probably his master)

and his mother was a slave. As was the cruel custom in that part of Maryland, he was

separated from his slave mother when he was an infant and cared for by an older slave

woman on the country plantation. His mother could visit him only occasionally, by

risking a beating to sneak away at night and walk twelve miles each way to see him. As a

young boy he was sent to Baltimore, to be a house servant, where he learned to read and

write, with the assistance of his master’s wife. As a young man in Maryland, Douglass

was recognized as a very bright person by both blacks and whites. He began developing

his speaking abbilities early on at a secret debating club called the East Baltimore Mental

Improvement Society. In 1838, he forged some papers, disguised himself as a sailor

and–with the help of friends–escaped to from slavery to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he changed his name to Frederick Douglass. In New Bedford he discovered the newspaper of the leading white abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, The Liberator. Douglass and Garrison quickly became friends and would work together for social reform and the abolition of slavery. In 1841 he addressed a convention of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in Nantucket and so greatly impressed the group that they immediately employed him as an agent. He was such an impressive orator that numerous persons doubted if he had ever been a slave, so he wrote NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS. Douglass’ great speaking ability soon became the major drawing card at meetings of the abolitionist society. A deep melodious voice, grace and a flair for the dramatic allowed Douglass to mesmerize his listeners at the abolitionist meetings. From 1845 to 1847, Douglas traveled in Great Britain speaking for the elimination of slavery. While in Britain he expanded his view of the struggle for human rights. He spoke in favor of Irish home rule and eventually would speak on behalf of the landless European peasantry, prison reform, free public school education and universal peace. In 1846 he wrote to Garrison, “I cannot allow myself to be insensitive to the wrongs and sufferings of any part of the great family of man.” Not supprisingly, Douglass was the only man who played a prominent role at the Seneca Falls meeting in 1848 which formally launched the women’s rights movement. Douglass eventually split with Garrison and the largely white abolitionist movement to work more closely with the black leaders of the time. Many of the leading black figures of the time were critical of Douglass. They did not believe that justice could ever be achieved for blacks in this country while Douglass maintained an optimistic vision for America. During the Civil War Frederick Douglass worked as an enlistment officer and served as an adviser to President Abraham Lincoln, whom he encouraged to make Emancipation an issue in the Civil War and to adopt constitutional amendments that guaranteed voting rights and other civil liberties for blacks. Following the war Douglass would work for the Freedman’s Bureau, the Freedman Bank, and hold various government appointments including minister to Haiti and US marshal for District of Columbia. He died in 1895, and by this time had accomplished so much that five state legislatures adopted resolutions of regret and the United States Post Office issued a twenty-five cent stamp to commemorate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of his birth in 1967. Douglass is still known by many as “THE FATHER OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.”

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