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"Once you have learned to read you will forever be free."
"Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave."
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Frederick Douglass was known well for being an escaped slave, committed republican (at that time in our history, the progressive party) and abolitionist. He was a staunch advocate of equality and education, seeing his own personal emancipation centered on something slaves were banned from doing: reading. His former master chastised his wife, saying teaching Frederick how to read would "ruin him" and make him unfit for the peculiar institution. He couldn't have agreed more.
In his uniquely bellicose manner, Mr. Douglass tackles this in a long soliloquy given July 5, 1852 in Rochester, NY. I have thought of Charleston, South Carolina and how the narrative of our nation had been determined by a defeated foe to the point of redefining the narrative and main rationale (if you can call it that) behind the Civil War: the continued indentured servitude of a kidnapped people in perpetuity. In light of the debate sparked by the assassination of nine innocents in Mother Emanuel AME, and the symbol the terrorist so revered; the possibility on that symbol's removal in the bloody aftermath, I give you Frederick Douglass' apropos speech on its 163rd anniversary in scroll excerpt (not visible in some platforms) and read by the accomplished actor and voice of Darth Vader, James Earl Jones.
History is a Weapon: The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro, Frederick Douglass
Related link: What the Civil War Can Teach us About Patriotism, Jarret Ruminski, PhD Historian, "That Devil History" blog