Letter To An Abolitionist

Newsweek has a great piece by the descendants of Frederick Douglass. An excerpt follows from his great-great-granddaughter Nettie Douglass:

Nearly 150 years ago, you helped free 4 million Americans of African decent from a life of servitude. A frenzy of hope followed and with it came an expectation that the same document that guaranteed our freedom would also guarantee our equal rights. Many generations have come and gone since. And, as anxious as we are to claim victory in the long struggle for equality, perhaps this Inauguration Day should be seen as a plateau and not the peak.

As with any struggle there has been pain along the way. Your own great grandson, Frederick Douglass III, succumbed to the burden of expectation. Many believed he was destined to become the same kind of iconic leader you were, but alas there are so very few like you. This Frederick Douglass was a brilliant man in his own right, a surgeon, and he was the father I never knew having taken his own life six months before I was born.

You have always been alive in me. Since I was a little girl I have worked to keep the name of Frederick Douglass in the consciousness of America; not just a name in history, but as a relevant figure in the world today.

My three adult children and I created the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation as a means of preserving your legacy and telling people about the current crisis of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. There are more women, children and men living in a state of servitude today than at any time in the past. We want to do what you and the abolitionists did in the 19th century and shed light on the inhumanity of slavery to inspire aggressive measures to help end it… we as a people must realize that apathy and ignorance are the enemies of progress. We must all become more vigilant defenders of the ground won by the leaders such as you who helped us secure the freedoms we possess.

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