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Newark Day 105

Newark Day 105

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Published by Kelly Woestman
Additional Documents for Day 1 [Newark Public Schools TAH grant with partner Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History]
Additional Documents for Day 1 [Newark Public Schools TAH grant with partner Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History]

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Kelly Woestman on Jul 15, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Additional Documents – Day 1
"I love you, but hate slavery."
Frederick Douglass had lived with Hugh Auld and his wife Sophia ("Miss Sopha") inBaltimore for most of his childhood and youth (ages 8 to 20), excepting two terribleyears in rural Maryland in the custody of his legal owner, Thomas Auld (Hugh'sbrother). Thomas's grown daughter, Amanda, now "Mrs. Sears" of Philadelphia andan opponent of slavery, had recently re-introduced herself to Douglass. Perhapsstirred by that contact, Douglass revisited the painful gaps in his life story. His letterquietly testifies to the suffering and disorientation that slavery inflicted by strippingaway the fundamentals of human identity.
Transcription (see original on previous page)
Rochester Oct. 4th 1857Hugh Auld Esq.My dear sir:My heart tells me that you are too noble to treat with indifference the request Iam about to make, It is twenty years since I ran away from you, or rather not fromyou but from -slavery, and since then I have often felt a strong desire to hold a littlecorrespondence with you and to learn something of the position and prospects of your dear children. They were dear to me - and are still - indeed I feel nothing butkindness for you all - I love you, but hate slavery. Now my dear sir, will you favor meby dropping me a line, telling me in what year I came to live with you in AliceannaSt. the year the Frigate was built by Mr. Beacham. The information is not forpublication - and shall not be published. We are all hastening where all distinctionsare ended, kindness to the humblest will not be unrewarded.Perhaps you have heard that I have seen Miss Amanda that was, Mrs. Sears thatis, and was treated kindly such is the fact, Gladly would I see you and Mrs. Auld orMiss Sopha as I used to call her. I could have lived with you during life in freedomthough I ran away from you so unceremoniously, I did not know how soon I might besold. But I hate to talk about that. A line from you will find me Addressed Fred K Douglass Rochester N. York.I am dear sir very truly yours,Fred: Douglass
Item Description and Credits:
GLC 7484.06. Frederick Douglass to Hugh Auld, 4October 1857
Suggested Reading:
Frederick Douglass, Autobiographies: "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, anAmerican Slave" / "My Bondage and My Freedom" / "Life and Times of Frederick Douglass", ed. Henry Louis Gates (Library of America, 1996).
David W. Blight, Frederick Douglass's Civil War: Keeping the Faith in Jubilee(Louisiana State University Press, 1989).William S. McFeely, Frederick Douglass (W.W Norton, 1991).
Frederick Douglass and the Reality of Jim Crow
[Available from http://www.gilderlehrman.org/collection/doc_print.php?doc_id=158] The intrepid abolitionist Frederick Douglass was never content with the state of theworld as he knew it. Douglass lived through slavery's demise, but continued to besubjected to racism. Despite the passage of several Constitutional amendments andfederal laws that followed the Civil War, unwritten rules continued to curtail therights and opportunities of African Americans. Douglass succinctly summarized thereality of Jim Crow in an 1887 letter that claimed the South's “wrongs are not muchnow written in laws which all may see – but the hidden practices of people who havenot yet, abandoned the idea of Mastery and dominion over their fellow man.”Racism, violence, and vigilantism were the tools of “Mastery” that permitted whitesto accomplish what the law theoretically prohibited. Douglass' correspondencereflected the belief shared among the black community that the best places tocombat “hidden practices” of the Jim Crow years were in the schoolhouse and thecourt room.Living in Washington, D.C. since 1872, Douglass had ample opportunity to witnessdiscrimination in nearby Maryland and Virginia and was keenly aware of the strugglefor quality schooling and judicial access during the post-Reconstruction years.Douglass was passing along his observations when he said “from all I can learncolored lawyers are admitted to practice in Southern Courts and I am very glad toadmit the fact – for it implies a wonderful revolution in the public sentiment of theSouthern States. I have not yet learned what are the inequalities between the racesas to school privileges at the south – In some of the states the time alloted tocolored schools is less than that allowed to whites. And I have heard and believethat in none of the states are the teachers of colored Schools as well paid as theteachers of White Schools.” By the 1880s, separation of the races was becomingincreasingly apparent with school segregation mandated by law in nearly everySouthern state. Despite this adversity, Douglass made it clear that inequalitiescould be corrected by challenging the system.During this time, however, many Southern black leaders actually preferredsegregated schools as a source of local autonomy and independence. All-blackcolleges rapidly became the primary centers of resistance to Jim Crow, althoughtheir administrators and staff frequently differed over how best to make their stand.At the primary and secondary school levels, truly heroic efforts were made byimpoverished teachers to educate their pupils, usually in the face of adversity. Withan onslaught of a new era of white supremacy flourishing in the South, it becameincreasingly difficult for blacks to obtain an education. Employers even went as faras firing black employees for attending school. Vigilante groups, including the KuKlux Klan, terrorized African Americans by burning schools and randomly beatingand murdering teachers and students.

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