Whether spoken orally or linguistically, a person’s words can reach a mass of people and make a difference. Superheroes have words as power, and they know how to use them to influence and motivate people. Author, orator, abolitionist, statesman, and educator, Fredrick Douglas, was one person who demonstrated the power of words. He was a unique kind of superhero. In a way, he still is, as his influence lives through peoples’ writings, music, film, protests, and in other ways.
A person of many talents, Fredrick Douglas came known to me through his writing, while I was taking a class in multi-cultural literature. He was full of bravery, as demonstrated by his actions and in his metaphorical writing.
“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” ~ Fredrick Douglas.
If a person owns anything it is his/her right to have an opinion(whether silent or vocal), the right to have emotion, and to express her/his knowledge and emotion. I feel Fredrick Douglas did this and inspired other people to do the same. Speaking in front of audiences has always made me nervous. When I learned Fredrick Douglas, who was faced with an oppressive audience, also was nervous speaking in front of audiences, yet still did so effectively, I found more inspiration to overcome such fear. A public figure is in position to set positive examples for his or her audience. He made the best of it.
People can say and do what they want to me, but I will still make my own decision-vote like I want, eat like I want, decide to vocalize my opinion or keep it to myself. Part of this attitude comes from a man like Douglas being a leader in human rights. I am not saying I share his exact experiences as a human being, as I never had to deal with oppression as he and other African Americans, women, and other minorities did. Not only did he rise against slavery, he fought for women’s rights and lectured on the cause for Irish Home Rule.
Reading and writing were the two activities that initiated him as a hero for his people in slavery and others that he eventually influenced. And he continues to influence people through books and lectures. I would like to imagine if Fredrick Douglas were alive today, despite the changes that have occurred since his era, he would still be a major influence on reading, writing for kids and adults, and his opposition against the social issues.
“Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” ~ Fredrick Douglas.
Below is one of the most informative books written by Fredrick Douglas:
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave