Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass and the Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro
Thefirst African American leader of national stature in United States history was Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass was born in February 1817 on the eastern shore of Maryland. Harriet Bailey was his mother but they were separated in his younger years. Frederick Douglass never knew or saw his father. Frederick Douglass was taught the rudiments of reading and writing by Mrs. Auld, until her husband stopped her. With this basic background, Frederick Douglass began his self education. Douglass was put to work in the Baltimore shipyards after numerous ownership disputes and after attempting to escape from a professional slave breaker. Douglass borrowed an African American sailors protection papers and escaped to New York by impersonating him. Adoptiong the name Douglass, he then married a free black woman from the South settling in New Bedford, Massachusetts where several of their children were born.
The meaning of July Fourth for the Negro provide young people with an experience to help them understand that they, like Frederick Douglass, may forge a portion of the American dream both for themselves and for others. Frederick Douglass’ persona and his life are remarkable in almost every way. In the process of exploring the principles that empowered him to become a full citizen of America, student participants gain knowledge about the realities of American slavery and sex discrimination and understand that the freedoms we enjoy today were bought with a price. They learn that many people–white and black–worked tirelessly, for decades, to bring about the emancipation of slaves and to give women the opportunity to gain political equality with men.
Readers learn to understand the life of Frederick Douglass in the context of an American history that reveals why racism and discrimination still exist in this country. Programs today that address socio-economic inequi…

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