As we celebrate February as Black History Month, I specifically write today about my favorite patriot, Frederick Douglass. Born a slave in 1818, he learned to read and write in the shades of secrecy and immediately became an avid fan of John Adam’s antislavery petitions in 1831. Later he became an advisor to Pres. Lincoln even though he often grew impatient with the long road to freedom. Their admiration and warm friendship was a turning point in this country’s history. A most courageous man he originally sided with the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison but then found his own voice and became an independent voice in the anti-slavery movement. Instead of adapting an anti-America tune, he instead had faith that America, through the Founder’s own words and dedication to the principles in the Declaration of Independence. would find their way, slowly but surely, real hope and change. Surely today he would be demonized for taking this view. After all it was his duty as a black man to rail against the injustices and the Constitution. Instead he believed in his heart that America would overcome it’s prejudices and intolerance. Eventually, Douglass would win the day when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed stating in his “Address to Twentieth Anniversary of Emancipation” in 1883 that Lincoln” was the one man to whom we are more indebted for a United Nation and for American liberty than to any other…the greatest statesman that ever presided over the destinies of this Republic”
Instead of encouraging despair and dependence he beckoned his people to seek the virtue of self reliance and individual responsibility. Today he would be at odds with the Jacksons, the Sharptons and the Rev. Wrights of the world and be repeating the elevating philosophy of self-improvement of Allen West, Herman Cain and Thomas Sowell.