The Pros And Cons Of Frederick Douglass

Superior Essays
On July 5th in the year 1852 a man named Frederick Douglass stood up in front of an audience and explained how he nor any African American can celebrate this country who has enslaved and dehumanized them for generations, he entitles this speech What to the Slave is the Fourth of July. Douglass, often referred to as “the father of the civil rights movement” was born into a life of slavery. Throughout Douglass’s enslavement he never allowed his slave owners to burn the bridge between his current living situation and his potential future. He may have been whipped and starved but he did not lose sight of where he could be one day. David G. Gil, a professor emeritus of social policy at Brandeis University would say that Douglass overcame the structural …show more content…
The south is cluttered with laws and enactments to punish the slave/African American. By creating all of these laws the Whites are both recognizing and ending the African Americans humanity. The slaveholders may treat their slaves as less then human but that does not mean their actions correlate with their beliefs. “The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government” (Douglass 443). By giving the slaves punishments and rules it is recognizing their ability to do more then they are allowed to do. Gil explains that when “constructive developmental tendencies are violated by a society’s way of life, emotional and social ills and problems ensue” (Gil 28). This is exactly what is happening in antebellum America. Slaves are running away, acting out against their owners, violence is growing and anything a slave can do to get out of their societal restraints they will do. And this ensues more violence as their owners and government react with a repressive violence. Which Gil explains as the reaction to the slaves counter violence. This vicious cycle can only end when structural violence ceases to exist (Gil 28). A citizen is supposed to be able to trust in their government but as a slave and African American the government primarily works against them. A legal system founded on the belief that all men are created equal and are meant to live that way does not recognize all men. “Men have a natural right to freedom” (Douglass 444). The slave exists in the space between their potential and the founding documents of equality in this country. Douglass is fighting for the recognition of his manhood and humanity in a society that will not see him because of the color of his skin. The lack of pigmentation is the white American is reflected by the lack of morality in their actions towards enslaved African

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