Great Thought Leader: Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, c.February 1818[3] – February 20, 1895) was an African-American social reformer, abolitionist,orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory[4] and incisive antislavery writings. He stood as a living counter-example to slaveholders’ arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens.[5][6] Even many Northerners at the time found it hard to believe that such a great orator had once been a slave.[7]

Frederick Douglass, ca. 1879. George K. Warren. (National Archives Gift Collection) Exact Date Shot Unknown NARA FILE #: 200-FL-22 WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 113

Frederick Douglass was born in a slave cabin, in February, 1818, near the town of Easton, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Separated from his mother when only a few weeks old he was raised by his grandparents. At about the age of six, his grandmother took him to the plantation of his master and left him there. Not being told by her that she was going to leave him, Douglass never recovered from the betrayal of the abandonment. When he was about eight he was sent to Baltimore to live as a houseboy with Hugh and Sophia Auld, relatives of his master. It was shortly after his arrival that his new mistress taught him the alphabet. 8

Frederick Douglass embodied these three keys for success in life:

  • Believe in yourself.
  • Take advantage of every opportunity.
  • Use the power of spoken and written language to effect positive change for yourself and society.



Beyond The “Political Message”

Recently, “Barack Obama made reference to Kanye West best known album:  My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy— Saying, that’s what’s known as being ‘”off-message”’ in politics, “you can’t say things like that. There are a lot of people who have lost their Congressional Caucus seats saying things like that.”  There is no doubt Obama is correct and his public response showed his legendary charm, tone and calm delivery and had everyone smiling. However beyond the obvious comedic element of the story there is a real question to ask,  where do we draw the line on what is politically and not politically correct in 2015. Donald Trumps current presidential run would make a great case study on the subject, when asked if he took exception to being compared to Hitler, his response was, he didn’t mind…..


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