Learning Lincoln On-line
FROM-- SET SEVEN, CIVIL WAR STUDIES
Topic Forty-three: Black Americans during the Civil War Picture Puzzle
#8 A COMPARISON OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS AND DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.-- ARTICLE
(From Kathi's Blog Thursday, March 1, 2012)
Are there similarities between Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr.?
Both Douglass and King were transformed by education and
reading. They marveled at the beauty of the spoken and written
word. When Martin Luther King was a boy, he was a bit of a
troublemaker. His father gave him a copy of Frederick Douglass'
autobiography and it changed his life. Both of them have similar
oratory styles. They both had the amazing ability to move their
audience to action
Both Douglass and King became spokesman for their causes. Douglass because of his ability to describe the inhumanity of slavery and King as a result of his involvement with the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott during the 1950's
Race relations between blacks and whites have always been a problematic and fiery issue throughout United States history. Frederick Douglass was a self-taught black man who wrote about his experiences as a slave. In his book, "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself," he makes many insights into the injustices and cruelty of slavery.
In 1863, Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation and blacks were forever freed from slavery. However, this did not put and end to racial tension or to the black man's hope for equality in the twentieth century. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote a letter from jail justifying his "nonviolent" crusade to end segregation forever. King's letter is thorough and his ideas and arguments are expressed efficiently with well-grounded rationale.
Douglass' writings are more difficult to understand because
there is more substance under the surface. Although they are
separated by a century, Douglass and King parallel each other
significantly. King's rhetoric and system of analysis are a helpful
lens through which to scrutinize and extract the important
realizations found in Douglass' writings.
Both Douglass and King changed their names. Frederick
Douglass was born Frederick Bailey. Changed his name to Frederick
Douglass when he was free from slavery. Martin Luther King, Jr.
was born Michael Luther King, Jr. and changed his name later in his
teens. Both of them began lecturing when they were in their 20's.
Douglass and King both wrote books and articles in addition to
their exceptional speaking ability. Frederick Douglass had
President Lincoln to deal with regarding the plight of the slaves.
Martin Luther King, Jr. had President L. B. Johnson to contend with
in the battle against segregation. Both men had four
living children. It was obvious that Providence influenced both of