Education is the most empowering force in the World. It creates knowledge, builds confidence, and breaks down barriers to opportunity. For children, it is their key to open the door to a better life. However, it is a sad reality of our World today that millions of children will never receive this key. They are destined to stay locked in cycles of disadvantage and poverty.
In some parts of the world, students are going to school every day. It’s their normal life. But in other parts of the world, we are starving for education … its like a precious gift. Its like a diamond. – Malala
All children deserve to receive the ‘precious gift’ of education. In fact, we have promised to give it to them. We need government, business and even individual citizens to step up. It is time to deliver. It will not be easy to achieve. But, it can be done.
Frederick Douglass was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman born into slavery. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in New York, gaining note for his oratory and incisive antislavery writings.
Douglass was a firm believer in the equality of all peoples, whether white, black, female, Native American, or Chinese immigrants. He was also a firm believer in dialogue and in making alliances across racial and ideological divides, and in liberal values.
When Douglass was about twelve years, he started learning the alphabet. He continued, secretly, to teach himself how to read and write from white children in the neighborhood, and by observing the writings of the men with whom he worked.
Knowledge is the pathway from slavery to freedom.
Douglass first tried to escape but was unsuccessful. On September 3, 1838, Douglass successfully escaped by boarding a north-bound train and reached New York City. His entire journey to freedom took less than 24 hours.
Douglass became a preacher and regularly attended abolitionist meetings and engaged in early protest against segregation. At that time he publihed his first autobiography, ‘Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave’.
Skeptics questioned whether a black man could have produced such an eloquent piece of literature. The book received generally positive reviews and became an immediate bestseller. Within three years, it had been reprinted nine times, with 11,000 copies circulating in the US.
Using £500 (equivalent to $46,030 in 2019) given him by English supporters, Douglass started publishing his first abolitionist newspaper ‘The North Star’. Douglass also used an editorial in The North Star to press the case for women’s rights.
Right is of no Sex – Truth is of no Color – God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren.
Like many abolitionists, Douglass believed that education would be crucial for African Americans to improve their lives and called for court action to open all schools to all children.
On February 20, 1895, Douglass attended a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, D.C. During that meeting, he was brought to the platform and received a standing ovation. Shortly after he returned home, Douglass died of a massive heart attack. He was 77.