Born during the era of black American liberation, Fredrick Douglas, become one of the most prominent abolitionists and orator. Born in 1818, Douglas was born in slavery before he escaped during his early 20s to become one of most outstanding anti-slavery activists in the history of black American liberation. Alongside other activists, Douglas steered the dominance of the African Americans in the fight for equality with the white race through numerous activities. Moreover, his autobiographies are significant as they preface his active role in fighting the policies enacted to empower the white race such as Jim Crow and the lynching witnessed in the 1890s. Douglas participated in the abolitionist activities through writing speeches and editorials that reinforced the ideals of equality and pushed for the end of racism and slavery. Moreover, he became an influential activist through writing a famous black newspaper that levied a strong appeal to the end of racism and slavery. Douglas and other abolitionists such as Garrison spoke about the injustices that were brought by slavery. The abolitionist members campaigned for the inclusion of the right of the blacks to vote and the equal treatment of the black in the public places. His ideals through his various autobiographies have also left an outstanding impact on the American society as he helped bring out the horrors of slavery and the inhumane treatment of human being by their masters. Together with other abolitionist leaders such as William Lloyd Garrison, he pushed for the women rights movement making him one of the most remarkable abolitionist leaders.
The Life of Fredrick Douglas and Its impact on his Future role as a leader
In "From Slavery to Freedom" by John Franklin, Douglas is brought out as a slave that is enslaved in both mind and body (Franklin 280). Douglas father was a slave owner while his mother was a slave who helped him discover the social ills of slavery especially when the white slave owners raped the slave women to satisfy their sexual needs. In his observation as a young man born in slavery, he narrates the horrors of slavery that eventually made him escape in search of freedom. Slaves had no rights, and the slave owners had absolute power over their possessions, many of the slaves lived in harsh environments far from their loved ones who were sold to the south. He, therefore, grew up aware of slavery, however, when he was seven, his master, Hugh Auld took him in and started teaching him how to read and write. This was significant as it prepared Douglas for his future role as an influential black newspaper writer and in spreading his ideologies on slavery. As he learned to read and write, he becomes thirsty for freedom; he sought more education through exploring the bible and speeches.
While with his master in Baltimore, Douglass planned his escape to freedom, he could not withstand the brutal beatings and the murder of slaves in a society that was governed by slave owners. Moreover, his experience with the slave owner Covey also made him yearn for freedom. Douglass escape from his slave masters was strengthened by the reading and hearing about the already existing abolitionists who were fighting to end slavery and push for equality in the society. The speeches he had read were essential in preparing him for his future role, in his quest for freedom and in helping push for reforms, Douglas wrote a series of speeches and editorials that he levied and used as weapons against slavery and racism. Moreover, through reading in his early years while serving his master, Hugh Auld, he was able to gain literacy skills that helped him describe the horrors of slavery he witnessed while he was a slave. Moreover, he also learned through readings that there were already existing activists such as William Lloyd Garrison who pushed for the end of slavery and racism in the American society (Franklin 342).
The beatings and the murder of a slave by the slave owners also played a significant role in preparing Douglass for his role as a leader. He associates the women with suffering, during the period he was a slave, he witnessed many women being raped by their masters and beaten ruthlessly. He felt that in the modern society, women should be shielded from any danger and acts of violence; therefore, he pushed for an early women's rights movement to protect the women. Moreover, he had witnessed the traumatic and common occurrences whereby women were beaten and abused by their masters. In his autobiography, Douglas also narrates how the beating of his aunt Hester was traumatizing. Also, he describes how his neighbors, Henrietta and Mary were whipped by their owner. Douglass also dedicated his attention to the women rights movement. He, therefore, felt that women were the victims of violence and there needed to be means of protecting them from such acts of violence by forming a women's rights movement (Douglass 77).
As a young man, Douglas admired freedom; he wanted to break free from his masters and look for freedom. He displays his spirit for freedom by trying to escape regularly from his masters. When his master hands him over to a white farmer, Covey, Douglas becomes more determined to have his freedom. He disobeyed his master when he tried to whip him; this was the spirit that was needed in the struggle for freedom. He carried this spirit even after escaping from his masters and settling in the city. He was determined to push for reforms that would help end slavery and racism that had become widespread. Just like he was determined to escape to freedom, Douglas wrote numerous speeches and editorials to spread his ideas on slavery and racism; he described freedom and the need for equality. Moreover, even after escaping, Douglas was determined to channel his ideals on slavery; he attended various anti-slavery conventions where he spoke vehemently on the abolition of slavery. He participates actively in the abolitionist movements and activities with the aim of abolishing slavery in the society. Moreover, in the early 1840s, Douglas joined the movements that were led by the abolitionists were he narrated the horrors of slavery in the anti-slavery societies (Douglass 101).
Douglas sarcastically describes Christianity as a justification for the ill-treatment of the slaves. The beatings and murder of slaves revealed the hypocrisy that existed in the slave owners. In 1841 to 1845, Douglas went all over the country with his fellow abolitionists spreading the ideals of slavery and the injustices. Moreover, he struggled to fight for the abolition of slavery and the inclusion of the black men in the union to fight during the civil war in 1861. He wanted racial equality through allowing the blacks to participate in the war and allowing the blacks to operate in a new constitution where there was equality. Moreover, his presence in Baltimore was a significant step in preparing his for his vocal position as a leader and statesman; he was spared the suffering the other slaves received. This helped facilitate his turning point in pursuing freedom as soon as he realized all that slavery entailed (Franklin 84).
In conclusion, the early life of the Fredrick Douglas is a reflection of what he was destined to be in the future. Born in slavery, he was able to observe the traumatizing effects of slavery which made him yearn for freedom, moreover, in his life as a slave; he was able to identify that women were the victims of violence from their masters. Consequently, in 1841, he joined the abolitionists at a convention in Nantucket where he spoke about his experiences with slavery. In addition, he joined other abolitionists to form the early women's rights movement that aimed at protecting the women from the acts of violence he had witnessed while serving his masters. His experiences with slavery prepared him to become an excellent statesman and leader, he spread his ideals of racism and slavery and pushed for equality. Douglas through his writings and political influence facilitated the inclusion of the blacks in voting and equality in the public places regardless of race or color. His early childhood life prepared him for his eloquence and literacy that was essential in helping eradicates the effects of slavery.
Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass. Tustin: Xist Publishing, 2015. Print.
Franklin, John H. From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans. , 2011. Print.
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