AMERICAN MINUTE Frederick Douglass: A man with a mission (pious) Bill Federer tells a remarkable life of a slave become free

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was born Frederick "Baily" in a Maryland plantation around February 7, 1817, although there is no specific document because he was a slave. He then chose the birth date of February 14, remembering that his mother had dubbed it "little Valentine's Day". He never saw his mother in the light of day because he had been separated from her while he was still a baby. He did not know who his father was.

Around the age of seven, Frederick saw a terribly nasty supervisor, Mr. Gore, shoot a slave in the face. Douglass was sent to Baltimore where, around the age of 12, his master's sister-in-law, Sophia Auld, began teaching the alphabet to Frederick, even though it was illegal.

An example of these laws is the Revised Code of Laws of Virginia (1819): "While it is common in many places that slaves meet at religious gathering places at night or in schools to teach them reading or writing, if not stopped can cause considerable harm to the community; That it be adopted: that any meeting of slaves, negroes or free mulattoes mixing with such slaves, in a meeting place or any school to teach them to read or write, the day or the night, for whatever reason, will be considered illegal assembly. And any law enforcement officer may have permission to enter the house to arrest or send such slaves and punish them with up to twenty lashes. "

In 1854, a Virginia woman, Margaret Douglass (no relation to Frederick), was jailed for a month in Norfolk Common Prison for teaching children of color to read. When Sophia Auld's husband discovered that she was teaching Frederick to read, he immediately banned it, claiming that if the slaves could read, they would become discontented and desire freedom. Frederick considered it to be the "first resolutely anti-slavery conference" he had ever heard, which made him decide to learn to read even more.

Frederick wrote in his autobiography to learn to read white children of the neighborhood. He would carefully observe the writings of the men with whom he worked. He remembered reading a newspaper before taking it with a reprimand.

Frederick Douglass described in "My Bondage and My Freedom" (New York and Auburn: Miller, Orton & Mulligan, 1855), while he was about 10 to 13 years old, in the years 1828-1831: "Nothing seemed to make my poor mistress more angry than to see myself sitting in a corner or corner, reading a book or a newspaper quietly. I saw him rush at me furiously and tear my hands off. His anger resembled what a traitor might feel after being discovered in a conspiracy by a dangerous spy. I was very guarded in all my movements. If I stayed in a separate room of the family for a while, I was sure to be suspected of having a book. Then, I was immediately asked to explain what I was doing. However, all this was too late. Determined to learn to read at all costs, I have found several ways to achieve this goal. The most effective, and most effective, way was to use my young white playmates on the street as teachers. In my pocket I almost always had a copy of Webster's spelling book. When I was shopping or playing, I withdrew with my younger friends and took less spelling. I usually paid boys with bread, which I also wore in my pocket. For a single cookie, any of my hungry little playmates would give me a lesson more valuable than bread. However, not everyone has required payment. There were some who liked to teach me whenever I had the opportunity to do it. "

Frederick was voraciously reading newspapers, books, and a publication called The Columbian Orator. It is said that "knowledge is the path from slavery to freedom".

Frederick was hired in the William Freeland plantation where he taught other slaves reading the New Testament in a weekly Sunday school. Slaves used the land like a blackboard. Enthusiasm to learn to read attracted more than 40 slaves.

Douglass wrote: "I held my Sabbath School in a free-colored man, whose name I consider imprudent to name; because if this were to be known, it could embarrass him enormously, although the crime of holding school was committed ten years ago. I've had at one time more than forty scholars, and those of the good kind, longing to learn. They were of all ages, but mostly men and women. I watch these Sundays with a quantity of pleasure not to express. These were great days for my soul. The work of educating my dear fellow slaves was the sweetest of commitments for which I was blessed. We loved each other and leaving them at the end of the Sabbath was a serious cross. When I think that these precious souls are now locked up in the prison of slavery, my feelings overwhelm me and I am almost ready to ask, "Does a just God rule the universe?" ? and for what is he holding the thunders in his right hand, except to strike the oppressor and deliver the spoiled hand from the spoiler? & # 39;

The owners of neighboring Democratic plantations were furious to learn that their slaves were learning to read, as this made their control more difficult. One Sunday, slave owners from surrounding Democratic plantations landed with clubs and dispersed the small congregation of Frederick.

Frederick's owner sent him to a slave-breaker who regularly whipped him, breaking him almost psychologically. After an abrupt confrontation, the slave breaker no longer tried to beat Frederick. The owner of Rederick rented it to seal ships in a shipyard.

In 1837, Frederick fell in love with Anna Murray, a free black Baltimore. Anna helped provide Frédéric with a sailor's uniform and identity papers for a free black sailor. On September 3, 1838, Frederick escaped by boarding a train for Havre de Grace, Maryland. From there, he escaped to New York. Frederick and Anna were married 11 days later with a black Presbyterian minister.

The newlyweds, Frederick and Anna, headed north to New Bedford, Massachusetts, and joined a black church. They changed their family name to "Douglass" to hide Frederick's old identity from the runaway slave hunters of the Democrats.

In New Bedford, Frederick Douglass became an accredited preacher of the African Episcopal Methodist Church of Zion. At just 23, he was an accomplished speaker.

Frederick and Anna Douglass regularly attended abolitionist meetings where, in 1841, they heard William Lloyd Garrison speak. Garrison was one of the founders of the Freedom Party, which was replaced by the Free Land Party, which was replaced by the Republican Party. When Frederick Douglass was unexpectedly asked to speak, William Lloyd Garrison was so impressed that he eventually hired Douglass to sell subscriptions to the anti-slavery newspaper The Liberator.

In 1843 Douglass undertook a six-month tour of the eastern and midwestern states with the American Anti-Slavery Society. He met Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin".

Frederick Douglass wrote about a speech made at a convention in Buffalo, New York: "For nearly a week, I have spoken every day at this former post office to an ever more numerous and respectable public until the opening of the Michigan Avenue Baptist Church. When it became too small, I went to the open park on Sunday and spoke at a meeting of 4,000 people.

Frederick Douglass was frequently accosted by Democrat crowds, even having a broken hand, which never healed properly. In 1845, Frederick Douglass published his autobiography, which instantly became a bestseller, translated into French and Dutch. In this document, Douglass condemned the hypocritical "religious" slave owners of the South Democratic country, while stating that he supported true Christianity: "Since I read the above story, I have spoken repeatedly this way. the tone and the manners, in the respect of the religion, could lead those who are not aware of my religious ideas to suppose me to be opposed to all religion. To lift the blame for such misunderstanding, I believe that it is appropriate to attach the following brief explanation. What I have said in regard to and against religion, I mean strictly apply to the slave religion of this country and without possible reference to Christianity proper; for between the Christianity of this country and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the greatest difference possible – so great, that to receive the one who is good, pure and holy, it is necessarily to reject the other as bad. , corrupt, and mean. Being the friend of one, it is necessarily being the enemy of the other. I love the pure, peaceful and impartial Christianity of Christ: so I hate corrupt Christianity, holding slaves, lashing women, looting the cradle, partial and hypocritical of this country. "

Skeptics could not believe that a former slave could have written such an eloquent book and so they began to question Douglass's true identity. Realizing that if his true identity was discovered, escaped slave hunters would attempt to capture him and return him to his owner, Frederick Douglass decided to flee to Ireland. The Irish were in favor of Douglass because, in the seventeenth century, more Irish Catholics were sold as slaves than Africans, either British in the Caribbean or Muslim pirates on the barbaric coast of Africa.

Douglass met Irish reformer Daniel O'Connell. O. Connell was called the liberator or emancipator for his emancipation efforts to eliminate discriminatory acts against Irish Catholics.

Frederick Douglass then went to England where his English abolitionist friends raised more than $ 700 to buy his freedom.

Finally free, Douglass wrote: "I can be judged superstitious, even selfish, to consider this event as a special interposition of Divine Providence in my favor. But I should be wrong in the first feelings of my soul, if I suppress the opinion. I prefer to be true to myself, even at the risk of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than being fake and incurring my own horror. From my earliest memory, I trace the animation of a deep conviction that slavery could not always hold me in his arms; and in the darkest hours of my career in slavery, this word of living faith and this spirit of hope did not leave me, but remained as angels to the ministry for m & # 39; 39, encourage through the darkness. This good spirit came from God and to him, I give him thanksgiving and praise. "

Douglass returned to New York where he founded the North Star newspaper and wrote to support the abolition and suffrage of women. His motto was: "The right has no sex – The truth has no color – God is our Father to all and we are all brothers."

After Abraham Lincoln, the first republican president, published Emancipation on January 1, 1863, Frederick Douglass wrote: "Can a man of color, or a white man who respects the freedom of all men, ever forget the night after the first day of January, 1863, when the world was to see if Abraham Lincoln would be as good as his word? "

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Frederick Douglass became a Lincoln advisor. Douglass even raises one of the first entirely black regiments, the "54th Massachusetts", described in the movie "Glory" (1989), in which Denzel Washington wins an Academy Award.

The first all-black regiments were the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, which had fought for America during the War of Independence; and Kansas' first colorful volunteers, who fought for the Union during the Civil War, including in the battles of the Island Mound, Cabin Creek, Honey Spring and Poison Springs.

Frederick Douglass said: "I am a republican, a black republican, dyed in wool, and I have never intended to belong to a party other than the party of freedom and liberation. progress."

Many notable black writers have observed how modern reliance on government documents is a reminder of the dependence on the plantations of Southern Democrats, where slaves were waiting for documents from their masters.

Star Parker, founder of CURE (Center for Urban Renewal) wrote, "Uncle Sam's Planting: How Great Government Enslaves the Poor in America and What We Can Do to Fix It".

Rev. Bryant produced a documentary entitled "Runaway Slave Movie", in which it was written, "I am a" fugitive slave "from the plantation of the Democrats".

C. Mason Weaver wrote, "It's good to leave the plantation: the new Underground Railroad."

Wayne Perryman wrote: "Unfounded loyalty: an in-depth look at the love affair between blacks and democrats".

Jesse Lee Peterson wrote "From Rage to Responsibility: Black Conservative Jesse Lee Peterson and America Today".

Frederick Douglass told the story of his conversion: "I did not have more than thirteen years when I felt the need of God, as a father and protector. My religious nature was awakened by the preaching of a white Methodist minister, named Hanson. He thought that all men, big and small, bound and free, were sinners in the sight of God; that they were, by nature, rebels against his government; and that they must repent of their sins and be reconciled to God by Christ. … I've been, for weeks, a poor mourning with a broken heart, traveling in the dark and misery of doubts and fears. I finally found this change of heart that occurs by "leaving all the care of God" and having faith in Jesus Christ, as Redeemer, Friend and Savior of those who diligently seek Him. After that, I saw the world in a new light. … I loved all human slavers excepted; although I would have more than ever horror of slavery. … I collected scattered pages of the Bible in the dirty gutters of the street, and washed and dried them so that I could get a word or two of wisdom. "

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