ANGOLA – Civil War Days in downtown Angola on Saturday drew dozens of people interested in how people lived and interacted during the civil war period.
The day’s activities began at the monument with a speech by a man representing the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln told the assembled crowd to always keep in mind the value and importance of the Declaration of Independence and its creation in providing “an unhindered start in life” for all.
“We come together here today to honor all those who fought for these rights and freedoms,” he added.
United States artillery gathered in front of Lincoln for a salvo before the crowds marched to Commons Park to hear man representing abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass share his story of educating himself in a time when it was illegal for slaves to learn and how he overcame similarly placed transgressions to become a leading force in the Civil War era abolitionist movement.
After losing his mother and grandmother to slavery, Douglass was forced to move north, near Boston, Massachusetts, to work as a caregiver for the family of the man who claimed his property in the South.
Douglass said it was there that he learned to read and write.
“The man’s wife was reading to me and her son and one day she said, ‘Frederick, honey, would you like to learn to read?’ Douglass recalls. “It was illegal to teach slaves back then, but I said yes I would.”
Douglass remembered teaching him for a while until one day her husband slammed the door, he said, yelling at her to stop.
“After that, I would take sweets and other foods from the kitchen and in exchange for their knowledge. I would give food to these poor white boys who were lucky enough to go to school, ”said Douglass.
“When my teacher arrived that day and told his wife to stop teaching me, he told her that she didn’t know what she was doing, the kind of problems she was causing while learning. to read to a slave. He said soon enough that he would start teaching more slaves to read and that they would no longer be fit to be slaves.
Douglass said, unknowingly, that this man gave him the idea of a life. He knew then that he had to educate all slaves to make them unfit for slavery.
Douglass went on to become one of the most influential orators in American history, speaking out against slavery and speaking about the importance of education to African Americans.