Of the abolitionists in the film that we watched, Frederick Douglass was the only former slave. He was the only abolitionist who had truly experienced first hand the horror of slavery. In fact, Frederick Douglass witnessed the whipping and beating of his mother at only six years old. Frederick Douglass was seen as rebellious to his slaveholder who sent him to a man named Covey who was nick-named “the slave breaker” in order to keep him in check. Covey was brutal and would beat Douglass regularly, however, one day Douglass retaliated. Douglass protected himself and was able to essentially pacify Covey. Covey never beat Douglass again and he could not let it be known that he had been retaliated against because he could not risk his reputation as “the slave-breaker.” Eventually, Frederick Douglass escaped and began his own anti-slavery newspaper called the North Star. This is symbolic of how the star could lead the slaves North to their freedom. Frederick Douglass was successful in his abolitionist ventures. Although he took less radical views than some abolitionists such as John Brown, Douglass was successful in advocating for freedom of slaves through political means. He was a instrumental part of the Emancipation Proclamation because he personally advocated for it to President Abraham Lincoln.
This video was a striking insight to the beginnings of social change in America. I was surprised by the few yet determined white Americans that were willing to dedicate their lives to abolishing slavery at this time. My favorite of the abolitionists was Angelina Grimké because she fearless enough to stand up to her wealthy and powerful white family and ran away when they would not listen to her. She took the risk of writing to William Lloyd Garrison and having her words published in The Liberator in support of abolition. Regardless of the cost to her or the embarrassment to her family, Grimké let her words be published and called attention to the horrors of slavery and the moral problem it caused for Christians. She believed in women’s rights as well as African American rights and was willing to fight to conquer both issues simultaneously. As a trailblazer of abolitionism and feminism, Angelina redefined the standards of women being able to speak publicly in front of both women and men. Additionally, she would speak about ending slavery in front of men which caused an uproar because this was unheard of at the time. When faced with people doubting her, including her future husband, Theodore Weld, she refused to step down and focus purely on the issue of slavery. She held firm in her belief that both social issues could be fought for at the same time. Her spirit and determination was incredible and allowed social change to be set in motion.