Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to eat chocolate, dote on freshly delivered red roses, and to celebrate the 19th century abolitionist, Frederick Douglass.
Born into slavery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore sometime in February 1818, Frederick Douglass was given the improbably dignified name “Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey.” Like many people born into slavery, Frederick Douglass did not know his exact birthday. He chose February 14th, because his mother, who died when Douglass was around eight years-old, called him her “little valentine.”
We can celebrate Frederick Douglass by honoring the principles he held dear. Douglass became devoted to America and its founding after close study of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Coming out of slavery, Douglass had been influenced by abolitionists who blamed America’s Constitution and its founding for the sin of slavery. In America’s dedication to principles of natural human rights set forth in the Declaration of Independence, he eventually found reason to love and identify with his country. He came to understand that America’s original sin was not in its founding principles but a deviation from its founding principles.