February is the month in which many nations celebrate Black History Month, paying tribute to generations of African Americans who experienced hardships to achieve citizenship in American Society. There are many African Americans who have made Back History as it is seen today and one notable person is Frederick Douglass.
Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born into slavery around February 1818 in Tablet, Maryland. He lived with his maternal grandmother, Betty Baile but was selected to live in the home of plantation owners, not being able to see or live with his mother who had only seen him four to five times before her death. It was said that his father was most likely a white man, who happened to be the owner of the house in which he grew up. At the age of 12, Baltimore slaveholder, Hugh Auld’s wife Sophia, secretly taught him the alphabet, disregarding the ban of slaves not being able to learn how to read or write. Slaves were forced to be illiterate and when Hugh Auld had forbidden his wife to continue guiding Douglass in his teachings, he took a stand in moving forward in education and decided to teach himself with the help of white children and others around him.
Reading opened up interest in opposition to slavery, looking into all sources of information such as newspapers. He shared his findings with other slaves and as well taught them how to read the New Testament during church service. All this information became popular and soon, anywhere between forty or more slaves gathered to hear what Douglass had to say. He had influenced the other slaves to gain interest in learning materials and what was occurring in their surroundings, opening up a new world of curiosity and questioning . In the eyes of slave owners, this was unacceptable so they used bats and stones to break off the gathering. He was moved from the Auld’s house to Covey’s who had the reputation as a “slave breaker” and during the time at this house, Douglass was constantly abused and one day he snapped and fought back victoriously. Frederick Douglass tried several times to escape but was unsuccessful until September 3, 1838 when he disguised himself as a sailor and boarded a northbound train with the help of Anna Murray, arriving in New York as a free man.
Now a free man in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Douglass attended abolitionist meetings, speaking of his slavery experiences, resulting in becoming an orator, resulting in landing him a job of being an agent for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. This job gave him the opportunity to travel overseas, advocating against slavery and injustices. He worked with anti-slavery movements, helped those on the Underground Railroad and as well with the women’s rights movements. Douglass pushed for equality and human rights until his death in 1895.
During his life, it can be stated that he impacted people positively, giving them the opportunity to gain a voice in the world and have input about situations. Other people saw him as a guide because of his enthusiasm to strive for a better world, truly conducting society in a hopeful manner. After his death, the movements of women’s rights and anti-slavery were still being focused on and both became successful and now it can be seen that his aspirations for abolishing barriers turned into reality. The world is a better place because of his actions, due to the fact that most people now have the ability to be literate, several people have rights and equality and the world doesn’t have the same segregated and inconsiderate mindset as before.
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