This Black History Month I’m Grateful for Frederick Douglass
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
The accomplishments of Frederick Douglass are so numerous they seem mythological to many of us today. For a Black person, born a slave in the first half of the 19th century, to have become so accomplished was literally unimaginable until Douglass did it.
A few highlights:
Douglass freed himself after illegally learning to read; worked as an abolitionist and suffragist; published The North Star and other newspapers; wrote multiple autobiographies; expanded benefits for Black soldiers in the Civil War; received nominations for Vice-President and President.
His autobiographies captivated the country and, for many Northerners, provided the first clear demonstration that Blacks could be the intellectual equal of Whites. Douglass was the first Black person to garner a truly national reputation, the nearly universal respect of Whites, and to be treated as an equal by an American President.
In fact, I consider Douglass to be the original president of Black America. He was the first person who could be said to have represented the most urgent interests of Blacks to the whole country.
It’s nearly impossible to conceive even now but Frederick Douglass was born as a slave and died as one of the most important people in the world.
Today, I am grateful for Frederick Douglass. You should be too.