Frederick Douglass, Letter for Civil Rights | Lined Wrap Journal {Midi}

Frederick Douglass was a former slave who became a leading abolitionist and social reformer. When too ill to continue his speaking engagements, he wrote letters of support for the anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells to take his place. With this letter, we celebrate the legacies of these revered African American leaders.

Width: 130mm (5")
Height: 180mm (7")
Depth: 22mm (¾")
PAGE COUNT 144 Pages
COVER Hardcover
Smyth Sewn
Memento Pouch
Custom-Designed Laid Paper
  • 100% recycled binder boards
  • Decorative printed cover paper
  • FSC-certified text paper
  • Threaded stitching and glue, as needed
  • Acid-free sustainable forest paper
  • Original Art: Letter from Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) to Rev. R.A. Armstrong, written on behalf of Ida B. Wells (1862–1931)
  • Era: May 22, 1894
  • Region: United States

 Born into slavery in 1818, Frederick Douglass broke free of his chains, rising in American society to become a celebrated abolitionist, social reformer, statesman, orator, author, diplomat and public official. Today, he is regarded as the father of the American Civil Rights movement.

After escaping slavery in Maryland, Douglass became famous for his incisive antislavery writings and speeches. His human rights work was dedicated to advancing the status of not only African Americans, but all groups experiencing discrimination. He was an active supporter of the women’s suffrage movement, especially in his role holding public office.

As the acknowledged national leader for African American civil rights, Frederick Douglass travelled and spoke extensively on the subject. When his health began to decline in the late 1800s, he continued to support the movement by championing fellow African American leaders, including Ida B. Wells. Wells was a noted anti-lynching leader, investigative journalist and educator, as well as one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Wells, too, was born into slavery, though she was freed by the Emancipation Proclamation during the American Civil War.

In the 1890s, when Douglass was too ill to make a trip to Britain to speak on the experience of former slaves in America, he recommended that Wells tour in his place. Douglass wrote letters of support and introduction for Wells before she began her campaigns, including this one written to the Reverend R.A. Armstrong, in which he praised Wells’ character as a “brave and truthful woman.” In England, Wells quickly found sympathetic audiences, who were shocked by reports of lynching and other anti-Black violence in America.

Over the course of their lifetimes dedicated to combating prejudice and violence, and fighting for African American and gender equality, Douglass and Wells became two of the most famous Black leaders in America. When Douglass died in 1895 his torch was passed to Wells. At the time, many in the civil rights community were ambivalent about or outright against a woman leading the movement and she was left out of many subsequent historical narratives in favour of her male counterparts, including her role in founding the NAACP.

However, in 2020 Ida B. Wells was posthumously honoured with a Pulitzer Prize special citation. Douglass’ works, including his autobiographies such as Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845), continue to be widely read, with his words carrying new weight in today’s challenging social and political climate.

With this letter, now housed at The New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, we honour Frederick Douglass’ legacy and champion his belief in the equality of all peoples.


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