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Best Frederick to find a man

Best Frederick To Find A Man


It is difficult to imagine a more remarkable story of self-determination and advancement than the life of Frederick Douglass. Emblematic of the depths from which he rose is the pall of uncertainty that shrouded his origins. For a long time he believed that he had been born in Then, induring a visit to a former master in Maryland, Douglass was told that he had actually been born in

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Pride and insolence will certainly be developed in the one class, and weakness and servility in the other. How infinite in faculty! It is to be the place where the children of a once enslaved people may realize the blessings of liberty and education, and learn how to make for themselves and for all others the best of both worlds.

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My philosophy of work is, that a man is worked upon by that upon which he works. While I have no sympathy whatever with those who affect to despise labor, even the humblest forms of it, and hold that whatever is needful to be done it is honorable to do, it is, nevertheless, plain that no people, white or black, can, in my country, continue long respected who are confined exclusively to mere menial service for which but little intelligence or skill are required, and for which but the smallest wages are paid or received; especially if the laborer does not make an effort to rise above that condition.

New York, at that day was by no means a city of refuge. Of all the creatures that live and move and have their being on this green earth, man, at his birth, is the most helpless and the most in need of instruction.

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As a mere physical being, he does not take high rank, even among the beasts of the field. This would not have been the case with them, if society, by any law or custom, had decided that this service should be, for such persons, their only calling and vocation in life. I then found myself in a strange land, unknown, friendless, and pursued as if I were a fugitive from justice. We are to witness here a display of the best elements of advanced civilization and good citizenship. It is to teach them to thought to work, and thus to get the very best result of thought and work.

However much I may regret that it was my lot to have been a slave, I shall never regret that I was once a common laborer; a servant, if you please so to term it. It is not the labor that degrades, but the want of spirit to rise above it.

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The duty devolved upon me, but which I then hesitated to assume, is, in every respect, an agreeable duty. In my estimation, neither politics nor religion present to us a calling higher than this primary business of unfolding and strengthening the powers of the human soul. The colored people, to be respected, must furnish their due proportion to each class. Coincidents are always more or less, interesting and here is one such of a somewhat striking character.

It was one of the best fields for that sport this side of Africa. While the employment as waiters at hotels and on steamboats and railro, is perfectly proper and entirely honorable, in the circumstances which now surround the colored people, no one variety of the American people can afford to be known only as waiters and domestic servants.

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The idea at the bottom of this Institution is rapidly gaining ground every where. With slavery behind me and all the great untried world before me, my heart throbbed with many anxious thoughts as to what the future might have in store for me. When first invited to speak a few words in celebration of the founding of this industrial school, I was disposed to decline the honor, in favor of some of my younger and better educated brothers.

This is all I have to say on this point. In view of this fact, no man whose business it is to teach should ever allow himself to feel that his mission is mean, inferior, or circumscribed.

His true dignity is not to be sought in his arm, or in his legs, but in his head. He does not know even how to seek his food. But I am glad that I did not decline the honor. It is in line with my relations to the negro. They must not be all masters, or all servants. I am glad that, at my time of life, the opportunity is afforded me to connect my name with a school so meritorious and which I can reasonably hope will be of so great and permanent service to a people so greatly needing it. I want to say something about the day upon which we are met. Here is the seat and source of all that is of especially great or practical importance in him.

Fifty-six years ago to-day, it was my good fortune to cease to be a slave, a chattel personal, and to become a man. Some know the value of education, by having it.

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How noble in reason! As I am a stranger among you and a sojourner, you will, I hope, allow me a word about myself, by way ofintroduction. Things which can be done simply with the exertion of muscle, and with little or no exertion of the intellect, will develop the muscle, but dwarf the mind. Exclusive service, or exclusive mastery, is not good for the moral or mental health of any class.

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As man is the highest being on earth, it follows that the vocation of teacher is among the highest known to him. To found an educational institution for any people is worthy of note; but to found a school in which to instruct, improve and develop all that is noblest and best in the souls of a deeply wronged and long neglected people, is especially note worthy. On the contrary, it was a city in which slave-hunters and slave-catchers delighted to congregate.

Thought was the prerogative of the master. In the old slave times, they colored people were expected to work without thinking. They must command, as well as be commanded. Thirty years ago neither poet, priest nor prophet, could have foretold the vast and wonderful changes which have taken place in the opinions of the American people on this subject since the war.

I, in my ignorance, once told my old master I thought a certain way of doing some work I had in hand was the best way to do it.

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No spot on the soil of Virginia could have been more fitly chosen for planting this school, than this historic battle-field. I will not attempt here any description of what were my emotions in this crisis. There is music in the violin, but the touch of the master is needed to fill the air and the soul with the concord of sweet sounds.

It is to educate the hand as well as the brain; to teach men to work as well as to think, and to think as well as to work. But I felt myself as much a man then, as I feel myself a man now; for I had an ambition above my calling, and I was determined then, as I have been ever since, to use every honorable means in my power to rise to a higher plane of service, just as soon and as fast as that should be possible. In apprehension how like a God!

The beauty of the world, the paragon of animals! While I say this, I fully believe in the dignity of all needful labor.

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The game once started was easily taken. All honest effort to better human conditions is entitled to respect. Since the great and terrible battle with which its name is associated and which has now passed into history as the birth of many battles, no event has occured here so important in its character and influence and so every way ificant, as the event which we have this day met to inaugurate and celebrate.

Nearly forty years ago I was its advocate, and at that time I held it to be the chief want of the free colored people of the North. The school which we are about to establish here, is, if I understand its object, intended to teach the colored youth, who shall avail themselves of its privileges, the use of both mind and body.

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There is fire in the flint and steel, but it is friction that causes it to flash, flame and burn, and give light where all else may be darkness. They show that the colored man need not despair; that he has friends in both sections of the Republic. That work which requires the most thought, skill and ingenuity, will receive the highest commendation, and will otherwise do most for the worker.

Industrial education is, with me, however, no new idea. It was upon the 3rd day of September,that I started upon my little life work in the world. Daniel Webster used to say that New Hampshire was a good State to emigrate from. Some work requires more muscle than it does mind. I was then editor and publisher of the North Star, a newspaper printed in Rochester, New York I saw even then, that the free negro of the North, with every thing great expected of him, but with no means at hand to meet such expectations, could not hope to rise while he was excluded from all profitable employments.

It is a permanent vocation.

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They were to be hands—only hands, not he. In his natural condition, however, man is only potentially great. Otherwise, we should not be here to-day engaged in the business of establishing this institution.

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The founding of this and similar schools on the soil of Virginia, —a State formerly the breeder, buyer and seller of slaves; a State so averse in the past to the education of colored people, as to make it a crime to teach a negro to read,—is one of the best fruits of the agitation of a half a century, and a firm foundation of hope for the future.

So I say of menial service— it is a good condition to separate from, just as soon as one can find any other calling, which is more remunerative and more elevating in its tendency.

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Obedience was the duty of the slave. Both circumstances are to-day causes of joy and congratulation. There is power in the human mind, but education is needed for its development.

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It has not only the high advantage of forming an instructive contrast and illustrating the compensation possible to mankind, by patiently awaiting the quiet operation of time and events, but suggests the battle to be waged here against ignorance and vice.

If they had caught me, I should have been elsewhere to assist in founding an Industrial School for colored youth in Virginia. He was free by law, but denied the chief advantages of freedom; he was indeed but nominally free; he was not compelled to call any man his master, and no one could call him slave, but he was still in fact a slave, a slave to society, and could only be a hewer of wood and a drawer of water.

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It is a want that begins with the beginning of human existence, and continues through all the journey of life. The North has changed, and the South has changed, and we have all changed, and all changed for the better.

Burns had high ideas of the dignity of simple manhood. But I had not then read Robert Burns. Thirty years ago, when Federal and Confederate armies met here in deadly conflict over the question of the perpetual enslavement of the negro, who would or could have dreamed, that, in a single generation, such changes would be wrought in the minds of men that a school would have founded here, for the mental, moral and industrial education of the children of this same people whose enslavement was sought even with by sword?

It was a great day for me. It happens to be the anniversary of my escape from bondage. This day has for me a special interest. They were commanded to do as they were told. I have pleaded the cause of the oppressed against all comers, during more than fifty years of conflict.

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The liberality on the part of the people of Virginia, a typical State of the South, which has encouraged and justified the founding of this Industrial School, not only within her borders, but here on the very first great battle-field between the two great sections of our Union, is as much a cause of amazement, satisfaction and joy, as is the readiness with which the good people of the North have responded to the call for pecuniary aid and thus made this enterprize successful.

I was a stranger to every one I met in the streets of the great city of New York, for that city was the first place in which I felt at liberty to halt in my flight farther North. Were a period put to my career to-day, I could hardly wish for a time or place, or an occasion, better suited for a desired ending, than here and now. There is in my opinion, no useful thing that a man can do, that cannot be better done by an educated man than by an uneducated one.

My first thought germain to this occasion, and which must have some interest for us all, very naturally relates to noted place where we now happen to be assembled. This spot, once the scene of fratricidal war, and the witness of its innumerable and indescribal horrors, is, we hope to be hereafter the scene of brotherly kindness, charity and peace.

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I know its value by not having it. He is not so fleet as a horse or a hound, or so strong as an ox or a mule. I leave you to imagine the difference between what they were and what they are on this happy occasion.

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Frederick Douglass was born in slavery to a Black mother and a white father.

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Throughout history, small states have come out of nowhere, and rapidly become great powers.

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He escaped slavery at age 20 and went on to become one of the most important political activists fighting for emancipation and the equality of all people.