Feb 14 – Happy Birthday “Little Valentine”


Frederick Douglass was born in February 1818. Though the exact date of his birth is unknown, he chose to celebrate February 14 as his birthday, remembering that his mother called him her “Little Valentine.” Douglass, Frederick (1882). The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass: From 1817–1882. London: Christian Age Office. p. 2

Frederick Douglass was an American social reformer, abolitionist, social reformer, orator, writer, and statesman.

In 1848, Douglass was the only black person to attend the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women’s rights convention, in upstate New York. Elizabeth Cady Stanton asked the assembly to pass a resolution asking for women’s suffrage. Many of those present opposed the idea … Douglass stood and spoke eloquently in favor of women’s suffrage; he said that he could not accept the right to vote as a black man if women could also not claim that right. He suggested that the world would be a better place if women were involved in the political sphere.

In this denial of the right to participate in government, not merely the degradation of woman and the perpetuation of a great injustice happens, but the maiming and repudiation of one-half of the moral and intellectual power of the government of the world.


After Douglass’s powerful words, the attendees passed the resolution.

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.

Douglass’s coffin was transported to Rochester, NY, where he had lived for 25 years, longer than anywhere else in his life. His body was received in state at City Hall, flags were flown at half mast, and schools adjourned. He was buried next to Anna (his first wife) in the Douglass family plot of Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester’s premier memorial park. Helen (his second wife) was also buried there, in 1903. His grave is, with that of Susan B. Anthony, the most visited in the cemetery. A marker, erected by the University of Rochester and other friends, describes him as “escaped slave, abolitionist, suffragist, journalist and statesman, founder of the Civil Rights Movement in America“. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Douglass

“America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future.” https://www.writerswrite.co.za/literary-birthday-14-february-frederick-douglass/

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