Frederick Douglas Former Slave
Frederick Douglass, a former slave turned Abolitionist Movement leader, perhaps the most recognizable African in America during the Civil War era, asked America the very same question in 1852 in a speech entitled “What to the Slave Is The 4th of July?”
Frederick Douglas: Forever Free
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But first, some of you may ask: Who to America was Frederick Douglass, that he was invited to make an Independence Day Speech on July 5, 1852 in Rochester, New York?
It is important to highlight the fact that Douglass was a leader in the Abolitionist Movement, because modern history books mention his activities or the activities of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad in passing. Abolitionists were painted as largely benevolent whites who stole frightened darkies away in the night.
It is important to celebrate Frederick Douglass because of what he represented and what the righteous historians revealed to us, which is that many of Douglass’ anti-slavery speeches were delivered to conventions of Blacks-free and enslaved alike.
Douglass’ weekly newspaper, The North Star (founded in 1847) was a crucial anti-slavery instrument and Douglass’ position as a “Station Master” of the Rochester, New York terminal of the Underground Railroad must be underscored, because these activities took place as early as 1851.
In 1858, the Freedom Fighter John Brown was given quarters for safety and secrecy in Douglass’ home, while planning one of the few slave revolts documented by mainstream American history-the Raid on Harper’s Ferry.
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