The most inspiring story I've read of Frederick Douglass is the moment young Fred Bailey stood up to the "N***er-Breaker" Mr. Edward Covey. This despicable fellow was known for breaking the will of strong willed slaves by any means necessary. Young Fred defeated Covey and another white man with nothing more than his fists, dignity, and perhaps Divine blessing. For that moment of resistance began the inevitable evolution of Fred Bailey the slave to Frederick Douglass the orator, abolitionist, freedman advocate, and statesman.
Consistently and advocate for self defense rather than political violence, Douglass was welcomed by both ethnicities bent on freedom for all men--and his enemies could never match his wit and mind in civil discourse. At the 1888 Republican National Convention, Douglass became the first African American to receive a vote for President of the United States in a major party's roll call vote. Ever the orator and advocate Douglass is one of the most important figures in African American history.
A man's rights rest in three boxes.
The ballot box, jury box and the cartridge box.
*My thanks to Professor Nicholas Johnson of Fordham Law School and his book Negroes and the Gun: the Black Tradition of Arms. 2014, Prometheus Books.