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US history is tainted by the most shameful form of enslavement of man by man – Negro slavery, that existed until 1863.Most people of America, negros and white, heroically fought for the abolition of slavery and for equal rights for black-skinned people.Political activity of Douglas was subordinated to the idea of uniting all the anti-slavery forces, creating a mass abolitionist party.
Douglas was a staunch supporter of peace and friendship among all peoples.
The fatal poison of irresponsible power was already in her hands, and soon commenced its infernal work.
I want to be able to talk to them in 10 years about Frederick Douglass, and if they aren’t into Frederick Douglass I would wish that they have a passion about something, as I think many of them will.
Most important, my foremost desire is for them to have the tools to express their passion, whatever that passion may be.
"It is hard to have a southern overseer," Douglass’s contemporary, Henry David Thoreau, wrote in "it is worse to have a northern one; but worst of all when you are the slave-driver of yourself." Although Thoreau refers to physical labor that fails the test of self-enlightenment, his larger point applies to my students who, too, seem explicitly bent upon achieving their own contemporary version of metaphysical enslavement. Complicating my bewilderment is that I have no transgenerational ax to grind, knowing as I do that the cry of English professors over their students' supposed failings is pretty standard fare for well over a century at least, and anyway, the topic simply isn’t that interesting before the third beer.
Both Douglass and Thoreau would recognize and lament this mentality, and walk away confused by the disheartening juxtaposition of material affluence and imaginative poverty. It bears asking, though, what such students might be enslaved to, or by. So here's what I want, in part: I want my students to become interesting people — that is, more interesting than they already are.He played a leading role in the organization of the Negro National League of struggle for equality (“Frederick Douglass Biography”, n.d.).Frederick Douglas has developed a program of political and civil rights for the black population of the country, especially the right to elect and be elected along with white Americans, and consistently fought for its implementation after the abolition of slavery.They have told me that they learned about "context clues" from previous teachers. As a child Douglass overhears his master, Hugh Auld, tell the naively benevolent Sophia to stop teaching him to read: "A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master — to do as he is told to do," Auld tells her. Without sounding overly prejudicial, it is difficult to conceive of much that would fundamentally threaten their defensive sense of self-assurance, which is often no such thing."Learning would the best nigger in the world" and "would forever unfit him to be a slave." This is the moment of enlightenment for Douglass as he discovers through serendipity and keen discernment what he had always pondered: "to wit, the white man's power to enslave the black man." He resolves to learn to read, reasoning that compulsory ignorance is the tool that keeps him and his fellow slaves in bondage. What I want to say here is that I am not always sure what I would like to free my students I’m concerned with.The book became famous, but freedom of the author was subjected to danger – according to the law, he had to go back to his host, to the South.Douglas chose to go to Europe, he lectured in the UK and Ireland during 1845-1847 years (“Frederick Douglass Biography”, n.d.).That cheerful eye, under the influence of slavery, soon became red with rage; that voice, made all of sweet accord, changed to one of harsh and horrid discord; and that angelic face gave place to that of a demon." Embarrassed smiles all around.In the past I would have given my standard lecture about looking up words instead of relying on something my students call "context clues," which I take to mean anything that prevents them from stopping, briefly, to do it the old-fashioned way. Douglass intimates that the worst part about slavery isn't the work or the whippings or the cold or the hunger or even the literal shackles. No, it's the compulsory ignorance, the full force of a system that understands slavery can only exist by the deprivation of learning, the absence, as it were, of light. " I wasn't referring to Douglass, and I think some of them knew it.One of these tools is vocabulary; the more important other is curiosity.You have an English professor, a text, and a class.