A valentine to Frederick Douglass


A valentine to Frederick Douglass


Must be a busy day for my friends @SuffrageBdays! Both Frederick Douglass & Anna Howard Shaw were born #OTD. #DouglassDay celebrations this year are devoted to Anna Julia Cooper, feminist and suffragist - more on her in months ahead!

See @CCP_org meanwhile. Today is for FD. 🧵

Frederick Douglass was the first important man to support women’s suffrage. He was literally there from the beginning: he attended the Seneca Falls convention, and encouraged Elizabeth Cady Stanton to be bold and include voting among women’s demands.

He published the proceedings of Seneca Falls in his weekly newspaper The North Star, spreading word of the young movement for women’s rights. The North Star’s motto: “Right is of no sex—Truth is of no color—God is the Father of us all, and we are brethren.”

For the rest of the century Douglass was the most prominent man to give a damn. Other men who had worked closely with women in the 1850s to abolish slavery and establish equality - white men like Wendell Phillips and William Lloyd Garrison - were dismissive of women’s rights. But Douglass stayed engaged.

In the debate over the 15th Amdt, he rebuked Stanton & Susan B Anthony for their racism - calling out his friends, and neither ceding nor abandoning the cause. In 1871 he & Mary Ann Shadd Cary led a contingent of 70+ women to vote in Washington DC. In 1894 he planned to speak at the NAWSA convention in Atlanta - until Stanton & Anthony disinvited him, lest he make their southern hosts “uncomfortable.”

Still, he didn't walk away. On February 20, 1895, he addressed a room full of women in Washington, DC. The scene was described by S. Jay Walker, who taught African-American history at Dartmouth in the 1970s.

"Susan B Anthony, his old friend and sometimes enemy from Rochester, and the Rev. Anna Howard Shaw escorted him to the platform. Mary Wright Sewell, presiding, invited him to speak. He declined, acknowledging the standing ovation only with a bow..." Frederick Douglass died that night at his home in Anacostia. #BlackSuffragists #DouglassDay 


Daily Suffragist




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Daily Suffragist, “A valentine to Frederick Douglass,” Daily Suffragist, accessed September 27, 2022, https://dailysuffragist.omeka.net/items/show/286.

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