Since I was a young boy, Frederick Douglass has been the historical person I most admire in the Civil War era.
Growing up a slave, Mr. Douglass was taught to read by a benevolent master, studied the Columbian Orator to improve his speaking skills, resisted a “slave breaker,” and escaped to freedom. He became an abolitionist lecturer and—to verify that he was an escaped slave—wrote his autobiography. His book became known in his native state of Maryland, thus he had to go to England and Ireland to avoid recapture. His friends in England purchased his freedom.
Douglass came back to the United States to continue lecturing and added the title of “editor of his own newspaper” to his resume. During the Civil War, he became a recruiter of the 54th and 55th Massachusetts Volunteers and later for the United States Colored Troops. He met and became the friend of President Abraham Lincoln. He accepted various government jobs and lectured for women suffrage in his later years. Frederick Douglass was a great man and American.
I grew up in the shadows of Lincoln Park in Washington, DC. I knew that Mr. Douglass had dedicated the monument there, “Freedmen’s Memorial to Abraham Lincoln,” before thousands of people. I am sure my uncle Mac Campbell told me about this dedication in one of his African American history lessons.
I first read the “Life and Times of Frederick Douglass,” first as a boy and then several other times throughout my life. I used him as an inspiration in my life and especially now as a I continue to write, lecture, and portray a United States Colored Troop as a living historian.