Fredrick Douglass Essay The great civil rights activist Frederick Douglass was born into slavery on a Maryland Eastern Shore plantation in February 1818. His given name, Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, seemed to portend an unusual life for this son of a field hand and a white man, most likely Douglass’s first master, Captain Aaron Anthony. Perhaps Harriet Bailey gave her son such a distinguished name in the hope that his life would be better than hers.
She could scarcely imagine that her son’s life would continue to be a source of interest and inspiration nearly 190 years fter his birth. Indeed, it would be hard to find anyone who more closely embodies this year’s Black History Month theme, “From Slavery to Freedom: Africans in the Americas. ” Like many in the nineteenth-century United States, Frederick Douglass escaped the horrors of slavery to enjoy a life of freedom, but his unique personal drive to achieve Justice for his race led him to devote his life to the abolition of slavery and the movement for black civil rights.
His fiery oratory and extraordinary achievements produced a legacy that stretches his influence across the centuries, aking Frederick Douglass a role model for the twenty-first century. One reason Douglass’s story continues to resonate is that his life embodies the American dream of overcoming obstacles and reaching one’s goals. Young Frederick Bailey spent his first twenty years in slavery, first on a Talbot County, Maryland plantation, then in the ship-building city of Baltimore.
In the first of three autobiographies, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, published in 1845, he recounts the adversity of his early life. He rarely saw his mother who worked as a ield hand, had barely enough clothes to cover his body, and had to eat from a trough like a farmyard animal. As he grew old enough to work he passed through a series of masters, some kind and some cruel. The influence of Frederick Douglass reaches beyond his symbolic role as America’s most famous former slave, although in his lifetime moving from slavery to freedom proved a tremendous accomplishment.
He continues to be relevant to both history and modern American culture because he moved beyond enjoying freedom to edicate his life to the principle that struggle is necessary to achieve progress. His desire to make his world a more Just place led him to fght for the abolition of slavery and to support social Justice and civil rights for African Americans and women. We would do well to follow his example, and to take inspiration from his famous words that “It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. ” Fredrick Douglass By Ishman2941
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