Sunday, February 10, 2013
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Frederick Douglass: un lider americano

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Ricardo Valdivieso

Ricardo Valdivieso

Ricardo Valdivieso reports on issues of interest to Spanish-speaking people in Southwest Virginia

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Summary: February is Black History Month, along with a brief bio of Frederick Douglass.

Febrero es el mes durante el cual se le da reconocimiento a aquellos afro-americanos que han aportado importantes contribuciones a los Estados Unidos de Norte America, y el mundo.

Una de las personalidades conmemoradas es Frederick Douglass, un esclavo quien logro liberarse, transformandose en uno de los grandes oradores y escritores de su epoca, para posteriormente convertirse en embajador, y en una persona de alto renombre. Douglass nacio bajo la esclavitud durante el ano de 1818, en el estado de Maryland, y por largo tiempo se rumoreo que su padre pudo haber sido quien lo esclavizaba.

La historia indica que fue separado de su madre a muy temprana edad, y fue criado por su abuela. Douglass aprendio el abecedario a la edad de 12 anos, a pesar que en esa epoca era penado por la ley el que un esclavo aprendiera a leer y escribir.

Douglas se dedico a leer y escribir en secreto, influenciado por libros y material dedicado a la politica e ideas opuestas a la esclavitud. Douglas intento fugarse en repetidas ocasiones, y finalmente lo logro en 1838, viajando en un tren a Nueva York, vestido de marinero.

Douglass contrajo matrimonio, y se acento en el estado de Massachusetts en donde conocio al periodista y activista antiesclavismo William Lloyd Garrison.

Despues de un tiempo Garrison alento a Douglass a hablar publicamente en contra de la esclavitud.

En 1845 Douglass publico su autobiografia, la cual se transformo inmediatamente en el libro de alto reconocimiento y ventas en los Estados Unidos y Europa. Douglass permanecio en Europa por 2 anos, mientras que aquellos que le apoyaban temian que debido a su celebridad, su ex esclavista trataria de capturarlo y nuevamente someterlo.

Durante el tiempo que se mantuvo alejado del pais, sus amigos en Inglaterra juntaron fondos para comprar su libertad, para que pudiera regresar a Nueva York y publicara un periodico antiesclavista.

En toda esta epoca Douglass apoyo decididamente el movimiento por los derechos de la mujer, al mismo tiempo que continuo su lucha por la educacion de la poblacion afro-americana.

Durante su vida adulta se convirtio en el afro-americano de mas notoriedad en todo el pais, mientras que sus discursos atraian una multitud.

Durante la guerra civil Douglass planteo un argumento en pos de los derechos de los afro-americanos, para que pudieran luchar en defensa a la Union, lo que posteriormente lo llevo a reunirse con el Presidente Lincoln con el objeto de discutir el trato que debian recibir los soldados afro-americanos.

Despues de la guerra civil Douglass participo en diferentes trabajos politicos y, continuo escribiendo, y realizando viajes como orador, en un esfuerzo por alcanzar la igualdad para todos.

Douglass fallecio en 1895 dejando un legado que dificilmente podra ser olvidado. Se dice que frecuentemente se decia: "Me unire con cualquiera para hacer lo correcto, y con nadie para hacer lo incorrecto."


Frederick Douglass: An American Leader

February is the month in which we recognize the many African-Americans who have made incredible contributions to the United States. One of those individuals is Frederick Douglass, a former slave who became one of this country's best speaker and writer, as well as a statesman and diplomat. Douglass was born a slave sometime in 1818 in the state of Maryland, and it was rumored that his master was his father. He was separated from his mother as an infant and raised by his grandmother. He began learning the alphabet at age 12 even though it was against the law for slaves to learn to read. Douglass continued to read and write in secret and became exposed to books and political materials that questioned the institution of slavery. Douglass tried to escape multiple times and was finally successful in 1838, riding a train to New York dressed as a sailor. He married and settled in Massachusetts where he met the journalist and anti-slavery activist William Lloyd Garrison. Garrison encouraged Douglass to speak of his life as a slave and his eloquence so moved the audience that eventually he began to tour and speak against slavery, despite being frequently attacked. In 1845 Douglass published his autobiography and it immediately became a bestseller in the United States and Europe. Douglass went to Europe for two years as his supporters worried that his fame would cause his former owner to try and take him back into slavery. While he was gone, friends in England raised the funds to purchase his freedom and he returned to New York and began producing an anti-slavery newspaper. Douglass was a strong supporter of women's rights and continued his struggle for education of African Americans. He was the most famous black man in America and his speeches drew huge crowds. During the Civil War Douglass argued for the rights of African Americans to fight for the Union and met with President Lincoln to discuss treatment of black soldiers. After the war, Douglass held several political positions and continued his writing and speaking tours, tirelessly fighting for equality for all. He died in 1895 and left a legacy that will never be forgotten. He was often quoted as saying: "I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong."

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