Writings of Frederick Douglass reveal more than black history

?Colonel Lloyd owned so many slaves that he did not know all of them. While riding along the road one day, he met a colored man, and addressed him in the usual manner of speaking to colored people on the public highways of the south: ?Well, boy, whom do you belong to?? ?To Colonel Lloyd,? replied the slave. ?Well, does the colonel treat you well?? ?No, sir,? was the ready reply. ?

Colonel Lloyd rode on; the man also went on about his business, not dreaming that he had been conversing with his master. Two or three weeks afterwards, the poor man was informed by his overseer that, for finding fault with his master, he was to be sold to a Georgia trader. He was immediately chained and handcuffed, and forever sundered from his family and friends. This is the penalty of telling the simple truth, in answer to a series of plain questions. ?
The slaveholders have been known to send in spies among their slaves. The frequency of this has had the effect to establish among the slaves the maxim, ?A still tongue makes a wise head.? They suppress the truth rather than take the consequences of telling it.?
– ?Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave? (1845)

The writings of Frederick Douglass teach much more than ?black history.? This passage from his autobiography explains why so many ?free? business owners today ? even topAtlantic Citycasino executives ? won?t speak the truth on key public issues like the Revel bailout and the CRDA, Atlantic City Alliance and the Tourism District slush funds. They dare not find fault with their ?masters? ? the politicians they need for licenses, loans, zoning variances and tax deals. Frederick Douglass was born nearEaston,?Md., in 1817 or 1818 ? slave owners did not record the birth dates of their slaves, horses or cattle. He saw much hardship and brutality on Colonel Lloyd?s massive network of farms there during his early childhood. When he was about 10 years old, he was sent to do household chores for a couple in Baltimore who worked for the colonel. There the wife taught Douglass the alphabet, until her husband warned that teaching a slave to read was dangerous and a serious crime inMaryland. But Douglass then got white children his age to teach him to read and write when their parents were not around. When he was 15, Douglass was sent to do heavy farm work near St. Michaels, Md., where he was often beaten severely and not given enough food. But five years later, he was lucky and returned toBaltimore. There, at age 20, Douglas was rented out for odd jobs, but managed to keep some of his pay for forged identity papers, a sailor?s uniform and a train ticket toPhiladelphia. White opponents of slavery then got him toNew?? Bedford,Mass.Three years later, in 1841, he stood up and spoke at an anti-slavery meeting there. He then became active as a writer, speaker, and organizer in the anti-slavery movement before the Civil War, the enlistment of blacks in the Union Army during the war, and in the civil rights movement for some 30 years after the war. Douglass profoundly changed the opinions of many white Americans, including Abraham Lincoln.

 

Frederick Douglass debunked the idea that enslaving blacks enriched most whites in the South.? According to Douglass, liberty brought prosperity to the North. ?The most astonishing as well as the most interesting thing to me (inMassachusetts) was the condition of the colored people, many of whom, like myself, had escaped thither. I found many, who had not been seven years out of their chains, living in finer houses and enjoying more of the comforts of life than the average slaveholder inMaryland.? Douglass did not want revenge, reparation or any special treatment from whites. He believed that access to education, and enforcement of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments of the U.S. Constitution were enough for blacks to share the American dream. And he was a Republican! So the writings of Frederick Douglass are often ignored or suppressed during Black History Month. Somers Point actor Philip Barnett will bring this remarkable historic figure to life when Liberty and Prosperity presents ?An Evening with Frederick Douglass? 6 p.m. next Wednesday, March 14 at the Shore Diner on Tilton and Fire roads (by Parkway Exit 36) in Egg Harbor Township.? Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.

(Reprinted from March 7, 2012 Current-Gazette Newspapers of Atlantic and Cape May Counties, http://www.shorenewstoday.com/snt/news/index.php/politics/21919-writings-of-frederick-douglass-reveal-more-than-black-history.html)

Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman appears on 92.1FM 8-9 a.m. Saturday. For information see www.libertyandprosperity.org, email
sethgrossman49@gmail.com
or call (609) 927-7333. Breakfast discussions are held 9:30-10:30 a.m. every Saturday at the Shore Diner on Fire and Tilton roads in Egg Harbor Township.

(Image Sources – http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/85/Frederick_Douglass_c1860s.jpg?& http://www.abolishforeignness.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Frederick_Douglass.jpg)

 

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