FrederickDouglass will always remain relevant to the America’s struggle forracial equality and civil rights. He was a slave in practically all of his life, but that did not stophim from attaining freedom. He knew what he sought from an early age,and Frederick was sure his freedom was only achievable if he wereliterate. Being able to read and write went along way to hisliberation. Fredrick Douglas was the most famous black person duringthe civil war in America emanating from the views that he held in theepoch. The American Civil War was largely a social revolution hingedon various, competing ideologies. The war was a typical example ofhow the politicians became concerned about the needs of theconstituents and strove to agitate for social reforms. At the sametime, the Enlightenment era had created the allowance for themarginalized societies (mostly the southerners) to understand theirrights and freedoms, which they now embarked on the process ofachieving them.1There was also a call for humanity based on religious values thatmade the revolution inevitable. The social developments created arift amid the South and the North, in which the South wanted thefederal government to recognize and protect slavery, while the Northdemanded the need for free labor and unrestricted society. Thesedevelopments also developed the allowance for radical politicians totake advantage of the differences to start championing for thecessation of the South. This report will discuss Frederick Douglassand the role he played during the Civil War, as well as hisaccomplishments in the struggle for racialequality and civil rights. In addition, the report will discussDouglass’ narrative and religion.
EarlyLife of Frederick Douglass
Hewas born in Maryland by Harriet Bailey, who was a slave. Althoughinitially his father was not known, it was later suggested that hiswhite master was likely his dad. Harriet Bailey was given work in aground that was several miles away, and was denied the opportunity tovisit her son but could only afford to see him during intermittentstopovers at night. Douglass was originally brought up by hisgrandparents. However, he later stayed with Captain Anthony, who hadproximately 30 slaves. It has been suggested by some researchers thatFrederick’s inhumane treatment, when they were residing with theCaptain, may have made him keep the dream of fighting for civilrights an element worth fighting for indeed, he lived in the samebreeding pens with pigs and dogs.2This was an indication that he started suffering while he was stillyoung. When Douglass was around eight years of age, he was referredto Baltimore where he was to labor for Hugh Auld, Captain Anthony’srelation by matrimony. Initially, he became handled with a lot ofkindness by Sophia Auld however, Hugh objected her attempts ofteaching Douglass how to read and write since he deemed that theskills would make Douglass unfit to become a slave. Nevertheless,despite disapproving the act, Frederick depicted the determination ofthe desire to acquire more reading and writing skills by convincingneighborhood kids to assist him. Douglass used to buy newspapers, andit was here he realized for the first time the presence ofanti-bondage movements in the North. The individuals who acted asactivists in the anti-slavery groups were referred to asabolitionists, and they had various camps. Some of these groups wereunder the leadership of religious leaders and had close associationswith Northern Protestant churches.
Frederick’sResistance and Escape from Slavery
Whenhe was a teenager, he was returned to the rural Maryland followingthe death of Captain Anthony in 1833. He automatically became aproperty of Thomas Auld however, due to his independence, he was putunder the care of Edward Covey, who was acknowledged as a brutalslave-breaker. He used to beat Frederick pitilessly and without anyvalidation however, Douglass resisted his beatings, and Covey had toback down. Because of his resistance, he became sold out to anotherslave owner William Freeland, where he tried an unproductive escape.Finally, Douglass became reverted to Baltimore, and he was hired outby Auld to toil in shipyards. It was here that he managed to escapeto the New York City with the assistance of a freedwoman, known asAnna Murray. When living in New York as a refugee, he came tounderstand that it was not easy to hide from slave hunters this madehim accept assistance from abolitionists who offered shelter as wellas passage to New Bedford. Since the name “Bailey” was dangerousbecause it could result in his capture Frederick acquired the nameDouglass while in New Bedford. In 1841, Frederick attended ananti-slavery gathering where he met John Collins and WilliamGarrison. Meeting these two men became a turning point for Douglass,because through Collins, he was invited to become a salariedlecturer, a position that he agreed. From his lectures and speeches,Douglass became a renowned person a move that led him to put hisspeeches together talking about his life as a slave.
FrederickDouglass and the Civil War
Inhis role to help in the destruction of slavery, Frederick became apolitical abolitionist. Previously, he had been a moral-suasionist,avoiding political action. However, after three years in Rochesteramid the voting abolitionists, he declared himself ready to apply“the terse speech-making of the ballot box,” and that became theorgan of the Liberty Party. The remnants of the Liberty Party latersigned an agreement to make a merger with the Radical AbolitionistParty. 3Theemergence of the war had a bracing impact on Frederick to him, thebattle was a crusade for freedom. The moment President Lincolnrequested for volunteers immediately following the firing on FortSumter, Frederick admonished colored men to form militia entities. Inoffering his advice to the President, Douglass indicated that themeans to ending the war involved letting the slaves and the freedcolored individuals be called into service where they were to createa liberating army by marching into the South and raising the bannerof emancipation amid the slaves. When it was clear that the Presidentcould not be rushed, criticisms of Douglass became severe, and histone grew to be less impatient however, the signing of theEmancipation Proclamation by the President appeased Douglass. Bythen, Douglass acted as a recruiting agent, where he traversed theNorth advising Negroes to enroll. Following the war, Frederick becamea firm supporter of the Republican Party.4Furthermore, he admonished Negroes not to take too fictional thebiblical injunction towards refraining from laying up treasures onearth.
FrederickDouglass and Women’s Rights Movement
Apartfrom supporting the abolitionist movement, Douglass was also seen asan active supporter of women’s rights movement. In 1848, he becameinvited by Elizabeth M’Clintock to attend the first Women’sRights Convention in New York, which he readily accepted. Hisparticipation at the gathering depicted his commitment to the womensuffrage. Furthermore, even after the 1848 convention, Douglasscontinued to offer support to the women’s rights movement since in1866, he founded the American Equal Rights Association together withStanton and Susan Anthony. This organization demanded universalsuffrage. Although it became disbanded after three years following atension amid women’s rights activists and activists for theAfrica-American rights, Douglass remained significant in bothmovements fighting for equal rights until his demise. He stronglysupported the idea of suffrage for women, but he held that whitewomen already enjoyed some substantial electoral privilege, somethingthat the blacks were totally barred from. Therefore, from hispractices, it can be argued that Douglass had strong support forwomen’s rights movement.
FrederickDouglass Accomplishmentsin the Struggle for RacialEquality and Civil Rights
Thereare different achievements that can be associated with Douglass inhis struggle for racial equality and civil rights. One of theattainments was the establishment of persuasive antislaverynewsprint. In 1847, Douglass introduced TheNorth Starwhich developed into the most influential African-Americanantislavery print of the time. Also, the merger of Liberty PartyPaper with TheNorth Starresulted in FrederickDouglass’ Paperthat became circulated until 1860.5Another achievement is his 4thof July Speech. Because of his oratory powers, he was able to offer aremarkable speech that dwelt on the equality of individualsregardless of their race or color, which was exceedingly powerful inimpacting the passage of the anti-slavery law. Furthermore, Douglassplayed a critical role in African-Americans being offered the rightto vote. During the Civil War, he was a consultant to PresidentLincoln and ensured that after the Emancipation Proclamation theblacks received their right to vote.
Douglass’sNarrative and Religion
Fromthe writing of Douglass, “TheNarrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,”there is recognition of two types of Christianity practices duringthe era of slavery. One of them was the true and actual version, andthe other was a motivation for slavery. According to Douglassreasoning, slavery became justified by the false idea of whitesupremacy, which was dominated by literature, law, and religion. Inthis case, both religion and law can be viewed as aspects that tendto restrict human conduct but were not perceived in that mannerduring the period slavery. The Christian rhetoric for example, inits hypocrisy, it is useless and propagates a form of struggle amidthe false and real Christianity, and this makes it lose meaning, buthas become almost damaging. For instance, the case of Sophia Auld canbe used as an example to show the existence of true and falseChristianity. The moment Douglass first became introduced to Sophia,he was surprised by her kindness because she treated him differentlyfrom the expected behavior of the white women he had encountered.Without even identifying her religious background, Douglass sawSophia like an angel. However, she did not hold to her religiousactions of treating Douglass with equality compared to otherindividuals. When her husband indicated that there was no need totreat a slave in a kind manner by providing him with education,Sophia did not defend her actions. Thus, her religious practicestowards may be questioned and categorized as false Christianity thatperpetuated slavery. Therefore, the religious actions of Sophiachanged due to her support of the untrue idea of white supremacy.
Analysisof Biblical References in Douglass Narrative
TheBook of Job
Fromthe Old Testament, the Book of Job is seen to portray the themes ofoppression and the fear of the Lord in providing wisdom. Job isindicated to suffer from forces that he is not in a position toovercome. However, since he fears God, he relied on His wisdom thatwas critical in winning the struggles. This is applicable toFrederick Douglass emanating from his slavery life in America.Douglass searched for wisdom so as to form identity and self-worth inthe midst of struggles. Just like Job is depicted to suffer due tothe authority of Satan, in the Bible, Douglass also suffered becauseof the authority of slave owners. Through the wisdom that Douglasswas given, he was capable of compiling speeches that could be used todeliver him as well other African-Americans from slavery.6
TheBook of Matthew
Inthe New Testament, the Book of Matthew can also be indicated asanother reference to the Douglass narrative. In Matt. 25, the Bibleencourages people to feed the hungry, to be welcoming, and being goodto the needy even if they are strangers. This part of the Bible canapply well to the Douglass narrative since, when he met Sophia Auldhe was welcomed in the manner that the book emphasizes. Although hewas a total stranger to Sophia and a slave, she treated him as if hewas not a slave.
Blight,David. “For Something beyond the Battlefield”: Frederick Douglassand the Struggle for the Memory of the Civil War. TheJournal of American History,2014.
Douglass,Frederick. Narrativeof the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.Marblehead: Trajectory Classics, 2014.
Fernée,Tadd. TheAmerican Civil War As A Social Revolution: The Enlightenment,Providential Consciousness and Changes in Moral Perception.New Bulgarian University, 2014.
Francis,Hattie. AmericanSlave Narratives and the Book of Job: Frederick Douglass’s and NatTurner’s Quests for Scriptural Authority and Authenticity.Virginia Commonwealth University, 2014.
Levine,Robert S. TheLives of Frederick Douglass.Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2016.
1 Levine, Robert S. The Lives of Frederick Douglass. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2016.
2 Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Marblehead: Trajectory Classics, 2014.
3 Blight, David. “For Something beyond the Battlefield”: Frederick Douglass and the Struggle for the Memory of the Civil War. The Journal of American History, 2014.
4 Fernée, Tadd. The American Civil War As A Social Revolution: The Enlightenment, Providential Consciousness and Changes in Moral Perception. New Bulgarian University, 2014.
5 Levine, Robert S. The Lives of Frederick Douglass. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2016.
6 Francis, Hattie. American Slave Narratives and the Book of Job: Frederick Douglass’s and Nat Turner’s Quests for Scriptural Authority and Authenticity. Virginia Commonwealth University, 2014.