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Why This Book Matters:

Frederick Douglass tells the story of a former slave, Frederick Douglass, as he navigated a world where blacks were free some places and slaves in others. Douglass fought for the rights of black Americans, becoming one of the most influential pieces of America’s history.

The Big Takeaways:

  1. Baltimore showed Frederick Douglass a life he could only imagine before he escaped slavery.
    1. If Douglass was influenced by his surroundings, learning to read and write well.
  2. Douglass was a well-known speaker since he had once been a slave.
    1. His church noticed that Douglass was a great speaker, encouraging him to become a more refined speaker.
  3. Douglass traveled to England and Ireland after releasing his autobiography to keep his former master from reclaiming him.
    1. While in the UK, Douglass’s friends raised money so that they could purchase his freedom when he returned to the United States.
  4. The relationship Douglass had with Abraham Lincoln did not start on the right foot.
    1. Douglass ridiculed many decisions Lincoln was making, especially those involving slavery in the South.
  5. Douglass took approaches that seemed controversial at the time to enable changes a little at a time.
    1. When Douglass fought for voting rights, he purposely left black women out of his proposal because he knew the change was too radical at the time to pass. He insisted on little changes at a time to secure a bright future for every black American.

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