Black History Month: Learning About Frederick Douglass
As we celebrate Black History Month, we wanted to highlight some of the key figures who helped shape America. At Imagine, we know some providers will be looking for ways to introduce their kids to some of these important people. This week, we take a look at Frederick Douglass.
“To deny education to any people is one of the greatest crimes against human nature. It is to deny them the means of freedom and the pursuit of happiness, and to defeat the very end of their being.”
~ Frederick Douglass
Douglass was born into slavery in eastern Maryland in 1818. At a young age, he was forced to work as a house servant in Baltimore. While there, he learned the value of getting a good education. While he was not allowed to go to school, he decided to teach himself how to read and write, and even educated other slaves.
At age 20, he successfully freed himself from slavery after escaping to New York City. It was there that he started to attend anti-slavery, or abolitionist, meetings and became active in politics. He even helped in the Underground Railroad, which actively freed slaves, and found them safe places to live.
During the 1860’s, as the Civil War got underway, Douglass saw an opportunity to push the anti-slavery movement. He even met with President Abraham Lincoln to discuss what would happen once the war was over. In 1865, Douglass’ influence helped pass the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery. This was followed shortly by the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing citizenship to slaves, and the 15th Amendment, granting voting rights to everyone regardless of race or skin color.
In his later years, Douglass served in various cabinet positions for five U.S. Presidents. He remained politically active and stayed in the public eye until his death in 1895.
Douglass will be remembered as one of the most influential people of the 1800’s and is credited with helping to start the Civil Rights movement in America