frederick douglas

Fredrick Douglass the Political Activist
When you think of influential black leaders who comes to mind? Some familiar names are Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, and Jesse Jackson. Before all these greats there was Fredrick Douglass, the pioneer of major black social movements. Frederick Douglass stands as a powerful symbol of African American leadership and perseverance due to his ability to re-claim manhood, create space for African American political involvement, and breaking silence through oratorical declamation.
Growing up and gaining manhood is very important in every young boy's life. Fredrick Douglass grew up and never personally knowing his father. The memory of his mother was blurry as well. She lived a little more than twelve miles away from were he stayed. He recalls one of his mother's rare visits, "She had walked the twelve mile to see me after along day's work and brought me a ginger cake. I drifted off to sleep and the next morning she was gone. I do not remember ever seeing her again" (Foner 15). Fredrick spent his early childhood with his grandparents in their slave cabin. When Fredrick Douglass turned 8 years of age he moved to Baltimore, Maryland to live with Hugh Auld to be a household servant. This marked one of the turning points in Fredrick Douglass's life in becoming a man.
During his stay with the Hugh family he developed a burning desire for literacy. Hearing his new mistress, Sophia Auld, read the bible and other literacy's fueled Douglass's desire to learn how to read. "Sophia taught Fredrick three or four words, but the lessons ended as soon a Hugh Auld learned of the teachings he said learning will spoil the best nigger in the world" (Foner 17). However, the flame was already lit; Fredrick began teaching himself how to read. He went as far as pulling schoolboys aside in remote places and turning them in to schoolteachers. &quo


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