Subversive Historian 09/03/08

Frederick Douglas Escapes Slavery

Exactly one-hundred and seventy years ago on this day in people’s history, Frederick Douglas made his escape from the bondage of slavery. On September 3rd, the great African-American abolitionist, editor and orator boarded a train to his freedom. Dressed in disguise as a sailor with a borrowed Seaman’s Protection Certificate, Douglass nervously approached the train conductor who held his fate in his hands. After a tense but brief conversation, the conductor allowed Douglas to board the train and at that moment his life as a slave ended. Frederick Douglass never forgot where he came from and famously said in the speech, The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro: “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.”

With such words of wisdom, thankfully Douglas made his great escape to the north with fake papers.


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