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In your recent “Off the Editor’s Desk” column, you had several quotes from people of historical significance. Your quotes included one from Frederick Douglass. You ended your column by saying, “Thank you for reading but I leave it to you to find out who Frederick Douglass was.” Actually I think that would be a great topic for an article in the Tribune Press Reporter, “Who was Frederick Douglass”. In the Frederick Douglass quote he stated that he did not celebrate the 4th of July. Given that he was born a slave and escaped slavery in 1820 and had to buy his own freedom with money he earned through speaking engagements and writings, one can see why the 4th of July held little meaning for him. He was also a newspaper man who wrote and edited the “Northstar” for many years. He wrote many books which provided some of our best documented accounts of slavery. He was a trusted advisor to Presidents Lincoln and Grant and was appointed to five high level federal positions by five additional presidents. He was a co-founder of the American Equal Rights Association along with Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to support voting rights for all people. He was an amazing man. Trust me, I did not recall all of this information from memory; I had to do some investigative journalism on my own. However, we did learn about Frederick Douglass in our high school history classes. Yes, I did save some of my father’s history textbooks and the one used while we were in high school (the 1960’s and probably some of the early 1970’s) spoke about Frederick Douglass and his work as an abolitionist. He was also listed under the section “Some Distinguished American Negroes.” There were only 11 people cited on this list so his importance was notable; however, it was a limited list and did a disservice to so many others who deserved mention.
WelI, I did what you asked us to do – find out who Frederick Douglass was. He was a remarkable man. There is an historic site in Washington DC. in his honor. There is a wealth of available information on him and I would encourage others to learn about his importance and influence in American History.
PS: Nice picture of you and your great-granddaughter on your birthday. Happy birthday!