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8th Grade American History: Douglass  

Last Updated: Oct 3, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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PBS: Africans in America


Frederick Douglass

Collection of the New-York Historical Society

Frederick Douglass 1818-1895

 "What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy -- a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour." From a speech given at Rochester's Corinthian Hall on July 5, 1852, commemorating the signing of The Declaration of Independence.

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The Columbian Orator by Caleb Bingham

Frederick Douglass read The Columbian Orator as a child and through it learned to read and then write so eloquently.


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