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Authoring, Researching, Reporting and Other Work

By Howard Taylor

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Frederick Douglass, Abolition & Abraham Lincoln
 

1818-1895
Slave, Free Man, Abolitionist, Army Recruiter, Newspaper Editor, & Presidential Advisor
 


A Learning On-Line Learning Activity based upon the life
of Frederick Douglass, former slave
By Howard Taylor
 

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Introduction
 

In this learning activity, the student will learn how, even in the worst of events, you can take "three big lessons" from Frederick Douglass and be successful.  To study the life and career of Frederick is one of the most uplifting learning experiences.  Frederick Douglass had great respect from several Presidents, and was most instrumental in getting the Black American men into the Civil War as full-fledged soldiers.  The Emancipation Proclamation was also a result of counseling by Douglass to President Lincoln.  Here are the three lessons of this activity.  The student will research Frederick Douglass' life, and then apply these concepts to some personal activities. 

Frederick Douglass was a great American that, much like Abraham Lincoln, arose from the humblest of environment to achieve firsts for an African-American in very hard times.  He would start his life not even knowing when he was born.  His masters did not encourage or allow their slave children to learn their birth date.  He was a gifted child that always wanted to know about his roots and ancestors, and especially his date of birth, but never could find out.  When he wrote his first autobiography, he made a statement that he was about 27 years of age.

He would devise plans of escape, at a very young age.  He would escape at a young age.  Frederick was taught to read and write by a white person when young, and he took full advantage of these skills the rest of his life.  As we will consider in this multi-faceted learning activity the "Three Learnings," he would speak on, these can be used in the learning of Frederick Douglass and the events of his life.  With Abraham Lincoln the themes to consider are honesty and "learning by the light of the fire."  In this learning activity the two famous men and acquaintances' will be compared and contrasted.

In this activity, the early life (pre-1860), the later life (post 1865) will be covered in a later sections.  The primary Douglass life considerations will be the period of time from 1860-1865.  This activity could be covered chronologically in-order, if time will allow such a study.  Frederick Douglass' role in helping the Northern  war effort, and final win.  

Frederick Douglass Learning's:
 

  • Believe in yourself.

  • Take advantage of every opportunity.

  • Use the power of spoken and written language to effect positive change for yourself and society


--Frederick Douglass said, "What is possible for me is possible for you." He used these keys and by making them his own, he created a life of honor, respect and success that he could never have dreamed of when still a boy on Colonel Lloyd's plantation on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

--On January 1, 1836, Douglass made a resolution that he would be free by the end of the year. He planned an escape. But early in April he was jailed after his plan was discovered. By September of 1838, he was free and moved to Massachusetts to be with his new bride and enjoy his new freedom.  This was the ultimate goal of life to be reached.  He would not stop there. 

--THIS ACTIVITY WILL CENTER ON DOUGLASS'S WORK DURING THE PERIOD OF 1860-1865. 

--A brief study of his life will help for understanding his Three Learnings. 

--The activity will provide experiences for intermediate grade level (4-6), middle grades (7-8) and high school (9-12)

 

 

LEARNING ACTIVITY HIGHLIGHTS AND TOPICS

 

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Portrait of Frederick Douglass

George F. Crane.
Distinguished Colored Men.
New York: A. Muller, 1883.
Hand-colored lithograph.
Prints and Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-1561 (5-10)

 

NORTH STAR ABOLITIONIST NEWSPAPER

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A caption view of Douglass' first national newspaper

 

 

The Frederick Douglass Timeline will be used in this learning activity.  Visit the timeline on the Library of Congress at http://international.loc.gov/ammem/doughtml/tl3.html (1)

from the American Memories Collection:  Frederick Douglass Papers Online Collection at http://international.loc.gov/ammem/doughtml/doughome.html (2)

Images from the Monroe County (NewYork) Library System Digital Collection:

Many Roads to Freedom, Abolitionism and the Civil War in Rochester, N.Y. at http://www2.libraryweb.org/index.asp?sid=&orgid=630 (3)

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Frederick Douglass House

 

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Frederick Douglass Newspaper Office

 

 

The North Star, established in 1847,
edited by Frederick Douglass. From
Soldiers Without
Swords: The Black Press
.

Frederick Douglass Autobiographies are available on-line from the Library of Congress, Frederick Douglass Papers: In His Own Words at: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/doughtml/words.html, (4) including his:

A learning activity to learn of the effect of the first Free African American to advise a President of the United States: his life from slavery, runaway from owner, European traveler and orator, to freedman and publisher of abolitionist and equal rights writings, a prestigious public life after the Civil War

A champion of civil rights for African Americans as well as women and all people in America.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS VISITS THE WHITEHOUSE, AFRICAN-AMERICAN TROOP CONDITIONS TO IMPROVE

Frederick Douglass Effect on the winning of the Civil War

54th Massachusetts Fight Heroically

Frederick Douglass-- "station master" of the Rochester terminus of the Underground Railroad, writer, publisher, orator, Army recruiter for black troops, and advisor to the President

Frederick Douglass' Three Life Learnings


REFERENCE TIME POINT FOR THE CIVIL WAR ERA OF DOUGLASS' LIFE-WORK: FREDERICK DOUGLASS

BIOGRAPHICAL TIMELINE FOR THE YEARS 1860-1865

1860. Returns to the United States upon hearing of the death of his wife, Annie. Her death had the effect of curtailing Douglass' European speaking tours.

1861. Calls for the use of Black troops to fight the Confederacy through the establishment of Negro regiments in the Union Army.

1863a. Congress authorized black enlistment in the Union army. The Massachusetts 54th Regiment was the first black unit to be formed, and the governor of the state asked Frederick Douglass to help in the recruitment. Douglass agreed and wrote an editorial that was published in the local newspapers. "Men of Color, to Arms," he urged blacks to "end in a day the bondage of centuries" and to earn their equality and show their patriotism by fighting in the Union cause. His sons Lewis and Charles were among the first Rochester African Americans to enlist. Douglass visited President Abraham Lincoln to protest discrimination against Black troops.

1863b. Douglass visits President Lincoln, protests discrimination against black troops; visits President Lincoln in White House to plead the case of the Negro soldiers discriminated against in the Union army; receives assurance from Lincoln that problem will be given every consideration; visits secretary of War Stanton and assured that he will receive a commission in Union Army to Recruit Negro soldiers in South.

1864. Frederick Douglass served as an adviser to President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and fought for the adoption of constitutional amendments that guaranteed voting rights and other civil liberties for blacks. Douglass provided a powerful voice for human rights during this period of American history and is still revered today for his contributions against racial injustice.

1865. Douglass speaks at memorial meeting on life and death of Lincoln called by Negroes of New York City after New York Common Council refused to permit Negroes to participate in the funeral procession when Lincoln's body passed through the city. Later Mrs. Lincoln sends him the martyred president's walking stick.

 

 

ACTIVITY CONNECTION TO NATIONAL LEARNING STANDARDS

National History Standards     

Standard 2: The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people

  • Evaluate provisions of the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln's reasons for issuing it, and its significance.
  • Compare the motives for fighting and the daily life experiences of Confederate with those of white and African American Union soldiers.

 

 

THE FREDERICK DOUGLASS ACTIVITY STUDENT TASKS

CIVIL WAR YEARS (LESSONS #1-#6)

Student Task #1-1865,  A GUEST AT PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S 2nd INAUGURAL      Start learning about Frederick Douglass by reading about his last connection with President Lincoln when meeting during the Second Inaugural reception at the White House, January, 1865.  READ THE ARTICLE FROM Abraham Lincoln Classroom at http://www.abrahamlincolnsclassroom.org/Library/newsletter.asp?ID=118&CRLI=166  (8)   This article concerns Douglass' invitation to attend the reception, his problem entering the White House, and how it all ended up.  Locate the section from Reference # 51.    For this job, you may

  • Design and print a Lincoln White House invitation with computer software such as Word, Publisher or other publishing software.  Make up a list of very important dignitaries that would have received the invitation to attend President Lincoln's second inauguration reception.  Research to find out some of the major guests that showed up to the reception, including Frederick Douglass.  Print enough invitations to address for each of your invited guests.  Remember the official White House/Government Seal and appropriate image of the 1860's White House, and other details.

  • Write an essay describing how Frederick Douglass felt when the policemen stopped him at the door of the White House, refusing to let him enter the reception.  Describe how Douglass responded to this event.  After reading Douglass' own words describing the reception (after he finally got admitted), how do you think the President and Douglass felt when seeing each other?  Include this answer within the essay. You could also include your feelings about why this meeting between a sitting President and a black man was so historical. 

  • Read about Washington D.C. in the early 1860's.  A good resource to read is from the Mr. Lincoln's White House website, and particularly the Nearby Washington article at http://www.mrlincolnswhitehouse.org/inside.asp?ID=4&subjectID=4  (9).    Think about where the nation's capitol was actually located.  Why would Washington D.C. be a possibly "unfriendly" place for a black man to be.  Why would it be a "safe" place.  

Student Task #2--  LINCOLN/DOUGLASS COMPARISONS & CONTRASTS      Make a Comparison Chart describing the differences and similarities between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.  A great plan, in PDF format, is available from the National Center for Teaching Thinking at http://www.nctt.net/Lincoln.pdf  (10)   Abraham Lincoln's Classroom Online by the Lincoln Institute & the Lehrman Institute at http://www.abrahamlincolnsclassroom.org/Library/newsletter.asp?ID=118&CRLI=166  (11).  These contain a narrative about the two men. 

Student Task #3-- A CIVIL WAR TIMELINE     Use a Civil War timeline to check out events during the Civil War, especially the first two years.  the Civil War.com website has a year-by-year timeline at http://www.civilwar.com/civil-war-timeline-of-events/civil-war-overview.html (12).  The Civil War was not going well for the Union or President Lincoln before 1863.   The Emancipation Proclamation was issued January 1, 1863.  President Lincoln would now authorize African Americans to serve in the Union Army.  African Americans and Frederick Douglass would have a big part in the new direction.  Frederick Douglass would now become a recruiter for the Union Army to convince male freed slaves to join and fight for the Union.  The timeline by Historyplace at http://www.historyplace.com/civilwar/index.html (13) describes the year 1863 when African American troops would enter battle.  The 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment under Col. Robert G. Shaw. Read about Congressional Medal of Honor winners by African Americans at the Buffalo Soldiers site at http://www.buffalosoldier.net/CIVIL WAR AFRO-AMERICAN MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS.htm. (14) Work within a small group, and make a memorial honor board for all the African-American soldiers that won this award during the Civil War.  Provide detailed information and a portrait of each.  As you read about recruits, find out the names of Frederick Douglass' own sons that were recruited as Union soldiers.

Student Task #4--  AFRICAN AMERICAN SOLDIERS IN THE CIVIL WAR     Read the article about African Americans during the Civil War from the Library of Congress Learning Page: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877, African-American Soldiers During the Civil War online at http://rs6.loc.gov/learn/features/timeline/civilwar/aasoldrs/soldiers.html (15)

Student Task #5-- THE 54th MASSACHUSETTS      Read about the heroic 54th Massachusetts Infantry Rgiment at the Battle for Fort Wagner from American Originals from the National Archives and Records Administration at http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/american_originals/54thmass.html  (16) Actual letters and pictures from soldiers from the 54th as on the Battle of Olustee Site, at http://battleofolustee.org/54th_mass_inf.html (17)

Student Task #6-- DOUGLASS' THREE COMPLAINTS TO LINCOLN     Read the short article about Frederick Douglass' first official visit  to the White House to confer with the President.  Answer these questions about that visit:

  • What were the three "complaints' that Douglass would relate to the President?.  

  • Read the resulting "Proclamation of Retaliation" that the President would issue shortly after the Douglass visit.  Why was this so important for the African American Union soldiers?

  • Do you think the Confederate Army honored and abided by the Proclamation with its' warnings?


OPTIONAL FREDERICK DOUGLASS STUDIES (LESSONS #7-#10) His life before and after the Civil War

Student Task #7-- AS A SLAVE & FREE-MAN      Working backward in time, your job now is to study and read about Frederick Douglass' years before freedom.  In this you will learn of his servitude, brutal punishments, illegal education and his escape to freedom.  Use the Online book Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, 1845 at http://www.alincolnlearning.us/narrative_f_douglass.html (17)  & at the American Memories Collection of the Library of Congress at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/lhbcb:@field(DOCID+@lit(lhbcb25385)) (18)

Student Task #8--  CONDUCTOR ON THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD     Working forward in time, your job now is to study and read about Frederick Douglass's years after freedom as a conductor for the Underground Railroad and newspaper writer and publisher.  Use the Online narrative of this period of Douglass's life  at the American Memories Collection at  http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=moa;idno=ABT6496.(19) The section of his later,

Student Task #9-- THREE LEARNINGS FOR A SUCCESSFUL LIFE     Frederick Douglass accomplished a lot in his life, based upon his life-plan THREE LEARNINGS:  1.  Believing in yourself;  2.  Taking advantage of every opportunity; 3.  Using the power of spoken and written language to effect positive change for yourself and society.

Student Task #9-- EQUALITY FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS     Returning back to 1863-1865, conditions for black Union soldiers would get better.  Describe how conditions improved, or didn't improve because of the Presidential Proclamation for Retaliation, and orders  for equal pay, and other basic rights for blacks in the war. 

Student Task #10--  AFTER THE WAR      Frederick Douglass' life after the Civil War, and the assassination of the President would be, perhaps, the most interesting of his career and life-history.  Read Chapters of his last autobiography The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881) at http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/douglasslife/douglass.html (20)

 

 

 

ON-LINE FREDERICK DOUGLASS READING RESOURCES

 

 

ARTICLE #1--FREDERICK DOUGLASS VISITING LINCOLN IN THE WHITE HOUSE, FOR THE FIRST TIME  Click Here

(an excerpt from an article An Unusual Friendship - Lincoln & Frederick Douglass by William Connery at http://www.rense.com/general63/friend.htm   (21)


ARTICLE #2--July 30, 1863. — ORDER OP RETALIATION  Click Here
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, July 30, 1863.

Abraham Lincoln Complete Works Comprising His Speeches, Letters, State Papers, and Miscellaneous Writings.   Ed. by John G. Nicolay and John Hay.  Vol. 2, The Century Co.  1894  p. 378 p. 378     Online at Google Books (22)


"THE BLACK MAN AT THE WHITE HOUSE"

ARTICLE #3--ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT  Click Here

From Frederick Douglass Autobiography My Bondage and My Freedom 1855  (6)

CHAPTER XI  SECESSION AND WAR, pages 350-355


ARTICLE #4--RECRUITER FOR THE U.S. ARMY  Click Here

From Frederick Douglass Autobiography My Bondage and My Freedom 1855  (6)

CHAPTER XI  SECESSION AND WAR, pages 344-350

"MEN OF COLOR, TO ARMS"


FOR A COMPLETE LISTING OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS RESOURCES CLICK HERE

 

 

 

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