It is interesting to note that both Smalls and Douglass had white masters for fathers and were perhaps given a little more freedom and more advantage. However, they did not squander the opportunity and helped advance the cause of freedom.
In his autobiography, “My Bondage and My Freedom”, Douglass very eloquently spoke of the hardships he had endured and how he was taught to read by his slave mother.
Many of the intellectual white Black Suffrage groups lauded after Douglass to help advance their cause and he became North America’s leading Negro spokesperson.
However, what I admired most about Frederick Douglass was that not only was he brilliant, he was truly an independent thinker.
Douglass had stated that after he escaped to the North, he initially believed that the Constitution was pro-slavery. As he explained:
“Brought directly, when I escaped from slavery, into contact with a class of abolitionists regarding the Constitution as a slaveholding instrument… it is not strange that I assumed the Constitution to be just what their interpretation made it…” 1
As he progressed, Douglass became a writer and a spokesman for the abolition movement, and came to realize that accuracy and truth were important, and so, as he explained:
“My new circumstances compelled me to re-think the whole subject, and to study, with some care… By such a course of thought and reading, I was conducted to the conclusion that the Constitution of the United…