Underrated Black Heros

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

Photo from History.com

It’s Black History Month! This month we’ll be telling you about some underrated and lesser-known black heroes and heroines. During this month and for the rest of the year we’ll be taking you on a trip through American history, and showing you magnificent changes that people of color have caused in this country.

Frederick Douglass was a writer, a journalist, a politician, an activist, a businessman, and a father. The most amazing thing about Fredrick Douglass was that he was able to accomplish all of these things even though he was an escaped enslaved black man.  

 Frederick Augustus was born in 1818 as the son of an enslaved mother. When he was just 6 years old Frederick Augustus was sent to his first plantation. There he learned to read and write until his owner Thomas Auld, put a stop to it. After being taught the basics, Frederick was able to further his basic education. Frederick Augustus escaped from slavery using a sailor’s identification and changed his name to Frederick Douglass to escape slave catchers in 1838. 

Now that you know a little bit about Frederick Douglass’s background before he became famous, let’s talk about the many things that he has accomplished. 

Frederick Douglass was a renowned orator; an orator is someone that is an eloquent and skilled public speaker, so that means that Frederick was good at engaging a crowd and getting them to listen. 

The most famous speech that Frederick Douglass gave as an orator was in the Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York on July 5, 1852, for the Lady’s Anti-slavery Society meeting.  In this speech he made cutting remarks about Independence Day, saying,  “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine, you may rejoice, I must mourn.” 

At the time slavery was still legal so those words were powerful and revolutionary because even though Independence Day was an achievement for white people, it was another bump in the road during the long period of injustices that black people have to suffer.

When William Llyod Garrison, the owner of a newspaper, The Liberator, hired him in 1838, Douglass was able to get his ideas out to the general public. With his writing, Frederick Douglass helped promote abolitionism. Abolitionism is when you want to end a specific practice, in this case, it’s slavery. He used his writing to convince people to join the abolitionist movement to free all enslaved people.

Now not only was Douglass an amazing orator but he was also an amazing journalist. Douglass wrote articles in his newspaper The North Star and autobiographies like Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, that brought to light the evils of slavery. He advocated for peaceful political change in a way that no other man had before.

In 1866 Frederick Douglass helped Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton found the American Equal Rights Association, and helped remind them that not only white women should be able to vote but so should women of color.

Frederick Douglass died from a heart attack in 1895 when he was just 77 years old. We should all follow Frederick Douglass’s motto, Right is of no sex—Truth is of no color” and treat everyone equitably.

Looking for more info on Frederick Douglass? Here are some links to videos, websites, and books to get more information.