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
Frederick Douglass Learning's
--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
NORTH STAR ABOLITIONIST
A caption view of Douglass' first
Frederick Douglass Autobiographies
are available on-
line from the Library of Congress, Frederick
Papers: In His Own Words.
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
Frederick Douglass: 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
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 Learning’s
REFERENCE TIME POINT FOR THE CIVIL WAR ERA
BIOGRAPHICAL TIMELINE FOR THE YEARS 1860-1865
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.
Calls for the use of Black troops to fight the Confederacy
through the establishment of Negro regiments in the Union
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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 live or visit. Why would
it be a "safe haven."
Student Task #2--
LINCOLN and DOUGLASS COMPARISONS & CONTRASTS
Make a Comparison Chart describing the
differences and similarities between Abraham Lincoln and
A great plan, in PDF format, is available from the
National Center for Teaching Thinking.
Classroom Online by the Lincoln Institute & the Lehrman
Institute. 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.
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 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
African Americans at the Buffalo Soldiers site.
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
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.
Actual letters and pictures from soldiers from the 54th
as on the Battle of Olustee Site.
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
& at the
American Memories Collection of the Library of Congress.
Student Task #8-- CONDUCTOR ON THE UNDERGROUND
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
Student Task #9-- THREE LEARNINGS FOR A SUCCESSFUL
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
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
ON-LINE FREDERICK DOUGLASS READING
ARTICLE #1--FREDERICK DOUGLASS VISITING
LINCOLN IN THE WHITE HOUSE, FOR THE FIRST
(an excerpt from an article An Unusual
Friendship - Lincoln & Frederick Douglass
by William Connery.
ARTICLE #2--July 30, 1863. — ORDER OP
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, July 30,
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
"THE BLACK MAN AT THE WHITE HOUSE"
ARTICLE #3--ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT
From Frederick Douglass Autobiography
My Bondage and My Freedom 1855
CHAPTER XI SECESSION AND WAR, pages 350-355
ARTICLE #4--RECRUITER FOR THE U.S. ARMY
From Frederick Douglass Autobiography
My Bondage and My Freedom 1855
CHAPTER XI SECESSION AND WAR, pages 344-350
"MEN OF COLOR, TO ARMS"
Go to the Frederick Douglass On-Line Puzzle
Douglass, Self-Made Man
On-Line "Slavery in the South" Home Page
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