Struggles of the American Slaves
Frederick Douglass, who was born into slavery around 1818, will forever remain one of the most important figures in America's struggle for civil rights and racial equality. As an ex-slave, his inspiration grew beyond his boarders to reach the whole world. Without any formal education, Douglass escaped slavery and became a respected American diplomat, a counselor to four presidents, a highly regarded speaker, and an influential writer. By common consent Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845) is recognized as the best among the many slave narratives that appeared before the Civil War. He amazed people when he spoke bravely in his Fourth of July speech. He spoke out against oppression throughout America and abroad, and his struggle for freedom, self-discovery, and identity stands as a testament for all time, for all people. Although some people accused him of lying, exaggerating, and using his narrative and his well-known Fourth of July speech as part of an abolitionist plot, Douglass was able to clearly demonstrate his talents, sensitivity, and intellectual capacity by revealing the truth about the lives, culture, and psychological struggles of American slaves.
To be able to use Douglass’s Narrative as well as his Fourth of July speech as historical sources, one must distinguish between facts and opinions. Facts within both sources can be considered as historical base because they were written by someone who lived, experienced, and suffered in the same time and place of the events. People can learn and understand history from historians and autobiographers like Douglass. His opinions share the same importance but must be looked at differently. These opinions are his interpretations and thoughts about that period of time, however we may agree or disagree with them as well as have our own ideas and thoughts about them.
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