Frederick Douglass

We start our Icon series with a distinguished African American. His life story will be familiar to most. The circumstances, his circumstances, will be more difficult, complex and challenging than the ones you and I face today. We do not shy away from history, and its far reaching and lingering consequences, at Black Diamonds magazine but we also like to share the tales of individuals who overcame the difficulties of their time. If they can do it, how much easier is it for you to overcome?

In nature, the Black Diamond is the toughest form of natural diamond. Frederick Douglass is our iconic black diamond because of his attitude and actions in a world where it was nigh impossible for him to achieve the results that he did.

Have a look.

He was a born a slave.

Both his parents were slaves.

If you have watched Roots, 12 Years a Slave or Django, you will know what it means to be a slave.

But he was curious and having been taught how to read by a sympathetic wife of a slave master, he allowed his curiosity to wander even more. We like curious people at Black Diamonds magazine. Eventually, his curiosity led him to the discover of the Columbian Orator, something which led him to meet and explore the concepts of freedom and human rights.

How many African nationalists have you heard about, who through travel or education borne out of curiosity, discover that freedom is not the preserve of a select few by social class or race? When you are curious, the universe opens her doors to your learning so that you respond to the stimuli that she offers. More often than not, if you respond positively, the universe leads you on to greater paths through synchronicity to the realisation of your aspirations.

Frederick Douglass had but one dream: freedom and human rights. After he defied his master, he was sent to a “slave breaker” which in apartheid times would have been the local police station where you were tortured so that you could break. Sometimes, like in the case of Steve Bantu Biko and thousands others, you died.

An unjust system can never endure

After getting a job and saving money for his escape, Frederick Douglass found himself heading for the North of the United States of America, where he could be a “free” man. Once there, he did not kick back and enjoy the trappings of freedom which was his right. He went to work immediately to help free other Africans from the bondage of slavery. What followed is a fascinating and inspiring tale of courage, perseverance and vision beyond one’s actual circumstances. Frederick Douglass became an abolitionist and civil rights leader. During his last twenty years, Douglas held a number of government positions.

We have two objectives in publishing this short account. Firstly, for you to get to know more about the man in the link provided below. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Black Diamonds’ readers are not victims of their circumstances. Instead, they rise above adversity, despite falling several times in the process, to emancipate themselves so that through their actions they can benefit for self and the greater good. Frederick Douglass is an icon for that reason, and a Black Diamond.


Please read the full biography of Frederic Douglass here.

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