In Charles River Editors' History for Kids series, your children can learn about history's most important people and events in an easy, entertaining, and educational way. The concise but comprehensive book will keep your kid's attention all the way to the end.
With the possible exception of Martin Luther King, Jr., no African American has been more instrumental in the fight for minorities' civil rights in the United States than Frederick Douglass 1818 - 1895), an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. His list of accomplishments would be impressive enough even without taking into account the fact that he was born into slavery.
Douglass' father was a white man, even perhaps his master Aaron Anthony. When Douglass was about 12, his slaveowner's wife, Sophia Auld, began teaching him the alphabet in defiance of the South's laws against teaching slaves how to read. When her husband Hugh found out, he was furious, reminding her that if the slave learned to read, he would become dissatisfied with his condition and desire freedom. Those words would prove prophetic.
Douglass is noted as saying that "knowledge is the pathway from slavery to freedom," and he took that advice to heart, teaching himself how to read and write with his knowledge of the alphabet. On September 3, 1838, Douglass successfully escaped slavery, traveling by boat to Delaware, Philadelphia, and finally New York, all in the span of a day. Douglass found a "new world had opened upon me."