Many individuals have succeeded in achieving unattainable goals and made a considerable impact on the world. Some of them took effective action at a specific time and place, which led to significant changes, and others lived lives full of struggle all the time. Without any doubt, Fredrick Douglass was among the latter, as he devoted all his life to the movement for the rights of African Americans. The man was born in 1818, long before the Civil War, and worked diligently from early childhood to make the United States the country where freedom and equality could prosper. Fredrick Douglass’ biography proves that his great dedication, audacity, and intelligence contributed to the struggle for African Americans’ rights and inspired millions of people not only in the United States but also worldwide.
Fredrick Douglass believed in the high power of education, which could significantly help African Americans to fight for their rights. He received inhuman treatment like numerous men and women of color in the Southern States, where slavery persisted before the Civil War. Fortunately, he encountered the individuals who desired to share their knowledge and experience with the smart boy despite taking a risk while educating the slave. Nevertheless, he possessed a unique dedication to study independently and worked hard to enrich his knowledge. He took his first steps in the struggle for African Americans’ rights when he was just a teenager. Blight noted, “With the Columbian Orator in his hands and with a Webster’s spelling book, Frederick preached the power of literacy as the means to freedom” (95). The man believed in the significance of knowledge that could open new horizons and broaden people’s minds regardless of their race, age, social position, and gender. Hence, Fredrick Douglass started to make an impact when he was an adolescent slave by the high capacity of his intelligence.
Moreover, after escaping slavery, the man met the individuals involved in the abolitionist movement, and they profoundly influenced him. Frederick Douglass, a person of color, experienced all the horrors of slavery, possessed much valuable knowledge and wanted to speak up and inspire others. His first speeches motivated many individuals to strive for the rights of African Americans and withstand injustice. Many abolitionists were white Americans at that time; thus, Frederick Douglass attracted full attention, as he knew well for what he stood for. In general, before the Civil War, there were two ways to help slaves, such as assisting them in the escape from their owners and delivering speeches. Frederick Douglass practiced both despite the fear of being severely punished.
Besides, the man also wrote several works that were best sellers and influenced millions of Americans. He was well known for his rhetorical skills and high intelligence, which helped him be a successful speaker and writer. For example, “four years after escaping slavery in Maryland, Frederick Douglass wrote the 1845 Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave in the genre of slave narrative” (Bennett 241). This work was extremely successful, as it appealed to white Americans, along with men and women of color, and motivated some of them to act. Readers discovered more about the experience of being a slave and the absurdity of slavery in the United States where political leaders spoke publicly about liberty and equality but did little to achieve it.
Furthermore, because of Frederick Douglass’ famous speeches and literary works, he became a well-known person adored by abolitionists and hated by slave owners. Blight wrote, “Douglass was the prose poet of America’s and perhaps of a universal body politic; he searched for the human soul, envisioned through slavery and freedom in all their meanings” (869). Therefore, people in the United States, as well as in Europe, respected him, even though his views were different. In addition, Frederick Douglass got the opportunity to make a more substantial impact by getting involved in politics. He was a trusted advisor of Abraham Lincoln and held high-ranking positions, which a person of color had never had. Even after the abolition of slavery, Frederick Douglass continued struggling for African Americans’ rights, as they still were oppressed and had few opportunities. He died in 1895, but people around the globe still remember him as one of the most prominent figures who strived for liberty and equality and inspired numerous individuals to withstand injustice.
In conclusion, Frederick Douglass’ unique dedication, audacity, and intelligence largely contributed to the movement for African Americans’ rights and motivated many people to act not only in the United States but also worldwide. The man struggled for justice from his early years while educating fellow slaves until later life while advising political leaders and holding high positions. He was a convinced abolitionist who earned the respect of his proponents, as well as opponents. Frederick Douglass’ inspiring speeches and influential literary works changed the way people thought. Undoubtedly, he was a prominent individual, who played a crucial role in the struggle for African Americans’ rights before, during, and after the Civil War.
Bennett, Nolan. “To Narrate and Denounce: Frederick Douglass and the Politics of Personal Narrative.” Political Theory, vol. 44, no. 2, 2016, pp. 240–264.
Blight, David. Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom. Simon and Schuster, 2018.