Frederick Douglas was photographed more than Lincoln or Twain, and those are his words. “I am a man.” What is he referring to? Douglas was a Black man in the 19th century. He was free when so many others with the same color skin as him were not. I wish to learn more about him. I knew his name, and I learned a bit more about him from the book I’m currently reading, These Truths, by Jill Lepore—American history, the book beginning in 1492 and wrapping up in 2016. Over the last few years I’ve begun to appreciate American history more. I search for the truth. Growing up I was taught the watered-down version of the United States’ history. The pilgrims and Indians got along swell. Our revolution against the British was just. The important dates were 1776, 1862, 1942. Nothing important happened between. We are a nation under God. Indivisible. For Liberty and Justice for all.
I am on a journey to discover what I am in this world, now in the 21st century. If Frederick Douglas was a man, what am I? He used his status, voice, and his face, photographed time and time again, to help others who did not have what he had. If I am to be a man, am I to do the same? How am I to help others? What tools do I have that others do not? Douglas exclaimed that he was a man to shed light on the disillusion that Black people were less than human. What is my cause?