Donald Trump’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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Marking Black History Month, the president made some strange observations about Frederick Douglass.

donald-trump-frederick-douglass-1486043041-640x320Does Donald Trump actually know who Frederick Douglass was? The president mentioned the great abolitionist, former slave, and suffrage campaigner during a Black History Month event Wednesday morning, but there’s little to indicate that Trump knows anything about his subject, based on the rambling, vacuous commentary he offered:

“I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things, Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice. Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today. Big impact.”

In case you didn’t know, Frederick Douglass will forever remain one of the most important figures in America’s struggle for civil rights and racial equality. His influence can be seen in the politics and writings of almost all major African-American writers, from Richard Wright to Maya Angelou. Douglass, however, is an inspiration to more than just African Americans. He spoke out against oppression throughout America and abroad, and his struggle for freedom, self-discovery, and identity stands as a testament for all time, for all people. Born into slavery around 1818, he eventually escaped and became a respected American diplomat, a counselor to four presidents, a highly regarded orator, and an influential writer. He accomplished all of these feats without any formal education.

In a way, Trump isn’t totally wrong about Douglass “getting recognized more and more,” though one is left to scratch one’s head at where precisely he noticed that. It is a real and praiseworthy accomplishment for Douglass’s name to keep spreading.

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