A True Groundbreaking Civil Rights Figure 

Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave, self taught author, abolitionist, human rights and women’s rights activist, and social reformer. He helped shape America through his determination and eloquence. His actions led to the Civil War, a pivotal point in time where slaves were freed. He was an advocate for teaching slaves how to read and write, and his story inspired millions to join the cause of abolition. was almost totally a self-educated man, his tireless efforts on behalf of the oppressed made Douglass a forceful leader and earned him the title in the 20th century of ‘Father of the Civil Rights Movement.’

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Frederick Douglass expressed the truth about what the world didn’t see about slavery and he didn’t hold back about doing it either. The Narrative possesses the genuine force of eyewitness conviction that was often lost in similar accounts whose editors and transcribers could not resist the impulse to sentimentalize or fictionalize for the sake of stylization and emotional effect. In an overview about Frederick Douglass it’s stated that “Douglass always remained true to the facts of his experience, and those facts themselves provide a relentless condemnation of slavery and its supporters”(Lavenier). By doing so he was able to compose a narrative that soon after started a movement where Douglass was an activist to end slavery. It was also pointed out that the narrative was also “the first native American autobiography to create a black identity in style and form adequate to the pressures of historic black experience”(Lavenier). Douglass became the voice of black Americans. He was able to give himself and others like him an identity in society; an identity needed to be fought for.

Frederick Douglass’s creative artistic personality is the first work of the productive individual, and remains fundamentally his best work, since all his other works are partly the repeated expression of this primal creation. As well as how defined the odds of breaking away from slavery. He was “a fugitive slave who seeks to transform himself into the slave’s opposite, the free man; and the de facto free man regarding his former life as a slave from the safe distance of the memoirist”(Brewton). The source is informative and objective to how to Douglass came to be and how he as an anti slavery activist helped transformed society. In the Narrative, Douglass writes about his life story and tells the world what slavery is really like. He gave the world an eye opening look into just how cruel it was, which is one of the many reasons he is considered one the people who put an end to slavery in America. The complicity in Douglass’s design comes to see the subject of the Narrative as emboldened, strengthened, and spared the consequences of his radical insubordination that has ordained him for the higher cause of abolition, “The persona of the Narrative has a destiny, not merely to win his own freedom but to champion the cause of the oppressed through the literary recreation of his life.”(Brewton). Douglass’s goal after he escaped slavery and wrote his novel was to abolish slavery and he did that by telling the world first hand what slavery really was and he stood behind his story to put a stop to it.

Not only was Douglass an activist for civil rights, he was also a very big activist for women’s rights more specifically black women. In his narrative he witnessed the horrible treatment slave women experienced; from being beaten to raped. He wanted to make sure no women should ever have to be treated so poorly again. According to scholar Pamela Kester-Shelton, “Douglass kept the cause of women’s rights before the American people even as the cause was voluntarily eclipsed by its key proponents with the issue of slavery, both before and during the Civil War” (Kester-Shelton). Douglass wanted to fight for women’s rights to their bodies. He felt that no woman should be beaten down and held against her will for the pleasure of someone else. They are human too and should obtain human rights just as anyone else should,“‘When the true history of the antislavery cause shall be written, women will occupy a large space in its pages,’ Douglass wrote in his autobiography, ‘for the cause of the slave has been peculiarly woman’s cause’” (Kester-Shelton). Douglass even wrote in newspaper articles about his stance for women’s rights which would then lead him to teaming up with other women’s suffrage activists like William Lloyd Garrison. With a bigger team of activist the more successful they were in making women’s rights equal.

Douglass was a self educated man. At the time people like him had little to no education at all. When he wrote The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, nobody could believe it and everyone thought it was fake because people like him—a slave; could never write something to this extent because they weren’t educated. But Douglass was able to teach himself how to read and write on his own. He was so “prescient” and the strength of his writing and speaking was so great that we are “inclined to pass quickly over many of his conflicts” (Sekora). According to scholar James Matlack, Douglass has to prove that he was not a fake, “Once having fully identified himself, he lost the anonymity which was essential to fugitive slave” (Matlack), because his validation of being an escaped slave would open the threat of being recaptured. But Douglass fled to England for two years and when he returned back to the states he was a free man. Douglass’s lack of formal education was an asset in the abolition movement. Not only did he teach people, he inspired people.

Frederick Douglass had a way with his words. He has a very different point of view than other slaves, he sees things more for how they should be and the other slaves see things for how they are. This appeals to the readers because it is another side to the story of slavery that we haven’t really heard before. Frederick opens our eyes to how it really felt to be a slave. He was able to tell his story in a way where the reader was able to gain an understanding of what actually happened because of the way he could write. Fellow activist William Lloyd Garrison says “as a public speaker, [Douglass] excels in pathos, wit, comparison, imitation, strength of reasoning, and fluency of language” (Garrison). It’s allowed people to cope with him and trust what he was saying. He was gaining credibility to his work. By teaming up with people like Garrison it furthered his movement to end slavery and gain the rights all people should have. Garrison admired Frederick Douglass’s bravery and honesty and believed he would be the one to change America forever.

Frederick Douglass is famous for many things but the one thing he is well known for, was escaping slavery and going on to become an abolitionist for slavery, and orator and an anti-slavery writer he also consulted with President Abraham Lincoln and had held high positions in the US government. He was an icon for America. Not only did he stop slavery, he helped stop segregation and racism in America.

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A True Groundbreaking Civil Rights Figure . (2021, Dec 29). Retrieved December 4, 2022 , from

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