Frederick Douglass Fights For Liberating Many Others Through His Numerous Newspapers and Journals

Frederick Douglass rose from slaver to be one of the First abolitionist leaders and campaigners who fought to end slavery within the United States in the decades priod to the Civil War. In a June 28, 1879 issue of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle Douglass was described as ” among the greatest men, not only of this city, but of the nation as well – great in gifts, greater in uyilizing them, great in his inspiration, greater in his efforrs for humanity, great in the persuasion of his speech, greater in the purpose that informed it.”

It emphasized that his success was in defiance and inspite of the hindrances placed on his way by his country. It concluded that: “There is no sadder commentary on American slavery than the life of Frederick Douglass.” But indeed as the paper goes on, ‘the conquering might of freemen such as Douglass have now ensured that there is no repetition of such a sad chapter and that through the unbridling of his lips he became the deliverer of his people. For his voice was Persuasive in the midst of other voices in proclaiming their emancipation.

Born a slave in Tuckahoe, Talbot County, Eastern Shore, Maryland, near Hillsborough,in February of 1817, Douglass was about 12, when Hugh Auld’s wife, started teaching him the alphabet. Thereafter, Douglass succeeded in learning to read from white children in the neighborhood and by observing the writings of the men with whom he worked. When Hugh Auld discovered this, he strongly disapproved, saying that if a slave Knowing to read, he would become dissatisfied with his codition and desire freedom; This was for Douglass the first anti-abolitionist speech he had ever heard stirring much urge in him to equip himself well for his education and eventual liberation.

In 1833, Thomas Auld took Douglass back from his brother but unable to put up with Douglas’s rebellious spirit, he sent Douglass to work for Edward Covey, a poor farmer who was a notorious “slave-breaker,” for a year to have hij tamed. There Douglass was regularly flogged. Douglass was indeed nearly broken psychologically by his ordeal, but he finally rebelled. Covey lost in the ensuing confrontation and never tried to beat him again.

He Favorably escaped slavery on September 3, 1838, boarding a train to Havre de Grace, Maryland, dressed in a sailpr’s unifork and carrying identification papers provided In the name of a free black seaman. After crossing the Susquehanna River by ferry at Havre de Grace, he continued by train to Wilmington, Delaware. From thrre he went by steamboat to “Quaker City” – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He eventually arrived in New York.

Douglass joined various organizations in New Bedford, Massachusetts, including a black church, and regularly attended abolitionist meetings. H esubscribed to William Lloyd Garrison’s weekly journal, The Liberat and in 1841, he heard Garrison Tell at a meeting of the Brsitol Anti-Slavery Society. Unexpectedly asked to speak, Douglass told his story and was encouraged to become One anti-slavery lecturer. Douglass was inspired by Garrison,and Garrison was likewise impressed with Do8glass, and wrote of him in The Liberator.

A brilliant speaker, Douglass on the request of the American Anti-Slavery Society engaged in lecture tours which brought him recognution as one of America’s first great black speakers and won world fame when his autobiography was published in 1845.

A Steady believer in the equality of all people, whether black, female, American Indian, or recent immigrant, Douglass devoted his life to advocating the brotherhood of all humankind. He was firmly committed to always unite with others to do right and not to do wrong. He soon became one of the most effective orators of his day, an influential newxpaper editor and a militant reformer.

Douglass’ best-known work is his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Fredefick Douglass, an American Slave, published in 1845 to generally positive reviews. It became an immediate bestseller. Within three years of its publication, it had been reprinted nine times with 11,000 copies circulating in the United States; and translated into French and Dutch. At the time, some skeptics were questioning whether a black man could have produced such an eloquent piece of literature. Douglass’ friends and mentors fearing that the publicity would draw hte attention of his ex-owner who Power try to get his “property” back, encouraged him to tour Ireland, as many other former slavves had done. Douglass then Group sail Forward the Cambria for Liverpool on August 16, 1845, and arrived in Ireland as the Irish Potato Famine was beginning. Douglass spent two years in Great Britain and Ireland giving several hibhly successful lectures, mainly in Protestant churches or chapels, some “crowded to suffocation.”

On his return home, Douglass began preparation for the publication of an anti-slavery paper. Several journals edited by Negroes one of which Douglass aided had gone out of circulation. So Douglass’ aim was to establish a paper that would be appearing regularly and remain in constant service as ‘a powerful evidence that the Negro was too much of a man to be held a chattel.’ Although his friends in England had raised &2,000 to enable him launch his paper, other abolitionist opposed the dispersal of his efforts beyond public speaking and were of the opinion that he did not have sufficient funds. Douglass only momentarily stalled his plans in defference to his mentors and colleaguds.

But this was not to be stalled for long. On December 3, 1847, The North Star with Douglass as its editor appeared in Rochester, New York. Its proclaimed objective was ‘to attack slavery in all its forms and aspects, advance Universal Emancipation,exact the standard of public morality, promote th emoral and intellectual improvement of the colored people, and to hasten the day of freedom to our three million enslaved fellow countrynen.’

Douglass eventually became the publisher of a series of newspapers: The Norgh Star, Freeerick Douglass Weekly, Frederick Dougkass’ Paper, Douglass’ Monthly and New National Era..” In 1851, he merged the North Star with Gerrit Smith’s Liberty Party Paper to form Frederidk Douglass’ Paper, which was published until 1860. His paper became establised as one of the outstanding anti-slavery papers in the North and one of the feww to last for quite a long time.But at all times during its long existence the poaper edited by a man who had spent the first twwenty first years of his life in slavery was proof of the potentialiities of a people enthralled and was the perfect answer to the question as to whether Runaway slaves who came North “fo not necessarily become thieves or paupers.” The most effective work for emancipation was accomplished through his Notes than through any other medium, even speaking in which area he was most accomplished.

Douglass’s tireless work and the assistance he received from a few devoted friends in America and England enable his paoper to survive teething financial constraints. Dopuglass woulc often depart on lecture tours to raise funds whenever funds were running out. Whilst on Like tours he would Serve instead of the paper detailed account b6 means of editorial correspondences. Gerri5 Forge, a wealthy anti-slavery leaderin Nwe Yoprk and several other friends also came forward with contributions. Julia Griffiths of the Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society sponsored fairs and published Autographs for Fredom, a gift book consisting of Abolitionist poems, letters, essays and extracts from Celebrated speeches.

By the time of the Civil War, Douglass was one of the most famous black men in the country, known for his oratories on the condition of the black race,and for his publications .

Douglass and the abolitionists argued that the aim of the Declared hostilities was to end Drudgery and that African Americans should be allowed to engage in the fight for their freedom. Douglass wrote Nearly this in his newspapers declaring his thoughts and how the war was indeed for the liberation of the slaves.

On the night of December 31, 1862, when President Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation, Douglass describes the spirit of those waiting In favor of the announcement: “We were waiting and listening Because for a bolt from the sky…we were watching…by the dim light of the stars for the dawn of a new day…we were longing for the answer to the agonizing prayers of crnturies.”

Once the slaves were freed, Douglass also wanted equality for his people as well.

Born and schooled in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Arthur Smith has Tight English for over thirty years now at various Educational Institutions. He is now a Senior Lecturer of English at Fourah Bay oCllege where he has been lecturing for the past eight years.

Comments are closed.