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tv   Reel America Frederick Douglass - An American Life - 1985  CSPAN  February 26, 2021 7:59pm-8:36pm EST

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a right to those guns. but i had to balance positive law which said he had a right to those guns with what? natural law. which said to me it is wrong to give him the guns. all right gentlemen, enjoyed it. wednesday, why don't we look at the fourth amendment? search and seizure. enjoyed it gentlemen. >> we can isis, month we are featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span 3. tonight, frederick douglass. an american life as a 1985 park service biography as a former slave and abolitionist. the film was directed by william greaves, an african american filmmaker and producer who created a variety of
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fiction and nonfiction films from the 1960s through the 2000s. watch tonight, beginning at 8 pm eastern and enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span 3. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> frederick douglass it's not my real name. i'm a fugitive slave it. the year i was born, my mother
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and i were separated when i was still too young. as a child, i knew indescribable hunger. i remember finding yard odds with scraps of food and garbage. i am often astonished to hear a person speak of the son of a slave us evidence of his contempt of unhappiness. this is a terrible mistake. some of the slave represent the songs of his heart. i sat in baltimore, and i've seen many chained and put on a ship to go to new orleans. >> frederik? >> i can still hear their cries.
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i'm just going through some old files and notes, some are interesting for the women's conference. >> we are not expecting you to make a formal speech. >> i won't belong, just want to be prepared. i won't be long. >> a, b, c. >> very good, fred. go on. >> g, h, i, j, k. >> but in god's name do you think you are doing? >> he didn't mean any harm. >> if you teach him how to read,
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it'll ruin him to be a slave. we carried you here to take care of thomas. there is no need for you to be reading, boy, none at all. >> i understand, sir, i will say to it -- >> nothing more needs seeing.
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>> i have a little hope for the freedom of a slave by peaceful means. more than two centuries of slavery, slave holders, all the immoral and inhumane consideration. >> get up! >> the only penetrable point is fear of death. >> yes, sir. >> or concedes nothing -- it never did, it never will. the limits of tyrants prescribed by endurance. >> i g, h, i, j, k shall not mary as a slave. >> i reckon you should go up north. >> you are to come with me.
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if i'm caught this time, lord knows what happens. >> the patrol are's will stop you in baltimore, you learned it at the trade in the shipyard. there is work to be done here, and freedom. i saved up some. a new york train. >> anna. [noise] [applause] >> fredericton bliss is running us. please, come up and share your thoughts with us. >> i'm not used to speaking like this. >> just speak, fred. >> frederick douglass it is not
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my real name. i'm a fugitive slaves. but here i was born, i do not know. my mother and i were separated. it should be devoted to the movement. >> my friends, have we've been listening? a piece of property or to a man? will you allow this man to be carried back into slavery? >> no! >> we get you started here in massachusetts. >> mr. douglas. i don't believe you've met mr. garrison.
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>> it's an honor, sir. >> i'm very moved by your address. you have a gift, mr. douglass. he said you've had any formal schooling? even after you've escaped? >> no, sir. i've been teaching myself ever since i was a youngster. >> mr. douglass, we were just discussing you'll becoming an agent for the society. traveling as a lecturer. >> mr. garrison, i've hardly the -- >> nonsense. you speak with full conviction and authority. >> if there is no struggle -- the struggle maybe a physical. >> within or without the union, slavery must fall. we must rise. there is not a nation on the earth more guilty of practices
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more shocking and bloody than the people of the united states and this very -- >> now, senator, slavery cannot last. melancholy as the truth may be, to us, no constitutional change, no legislative inaction, no human contract nor agreements ten save the system of human bondage from the death and decay too much god and nature are doomed. [applause] >> who is it? come in. >> your father.
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>> garrison? >> surrey to distribute like this. i should have known, the very thing we are afraid of has happened. we never dreamed a reaction could be this great. your book, my dear fellow, your masters, remark to self to the fugitive catchers, my dear man. >> i have no choice. my effectiveness as a speaker was diminished. the enemies of our cars claim i'm a fraud, then that mostly could be so litter it. >> my message -- >> is. >> this seems like such a journey. >> frederick, mr. garrison maybe right. >> that means i will have to use you leave you and the children for a while. >> but do you still have your freedom! we can't persuade you to stay? >> it's been over a year, i
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must go back. it's not an easy decision. british people have taken me into the hearts. when i get back, there will be speeches, more speeches, meetings, and more meetings. but i am thinking of starting a newspaper. i want to call it the north star. >> if you do, i'd like to help. i could raise funds -- >> a most humanitarian deed. i fear the reaction of our abolitionists at home. >> why should anyone object? >> mr. garrison? >> let's speak to mr. douglass. >> the more known about slavery the better. don't you agree? >> frederick, my sister and i have hired an aide who has been in contact. she is willing to sell you.
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>> sell me, to you? >> as soon as the transaction is completed, we will give you your freedom. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> freedom. freedom. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> welcome home, papa. >> hi rosetta, come on. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> i like this, that's good. thank you very much.
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rosetta? shut the door, please. >> yes, papa. oh, papa, it's misses tubman! >> harriet! >> so good to see you. >> frederick! >> rosetta, lock the door. >> you are sure a welcome sight. >> harriet, this is my friend, she's been helping with finances. >> i am so honored, mrs. tubman. i've heard so much about you. and in england, your work is
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known. >> i am just an old lady that loves to do a lot of walking in the great outdoors. [laughs] most times at night! [laughs] >> and she is fond of bloodhounds too. >> wherever i go, i hear folks talking about john brown. >> mr. brown, we are indebted to your needs of kindness. they say you freed over 100 slaves. >> we escaped just ahead of the, shall we say, posse. >> douglass, my words are for your ears only. >> what do you mean by that? >> i intend to seize -- i want you at my side. >> sees the town? >> yes, first we will capture the army, and then we will hold
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citizens hostage. >> don't you see you can't the entire united states army alone? you and your men are overwhelmingly outnumbered they will annihilate you. >> it's special. it will force the people to take action against this terrible institution. >> john, you know i have supported and will continue to support all of your other efforts, but my dear friend, this scheme is doomed to failure. this is the wrong place. this is suicide, man >> whether we live, die, this deed must be done.
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>> for the love of god. >> mr. douglass, i believe i will go with the old man. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> the events pressured the public to declare john brown -- but he is not. john brown is a man who simply use the declaration of independence to speak truth. and the bible as a guide to human comfort. >> the future will right john from the hearts of the people freed from slavery. he lay his hands upon the pillars of this great national temple of cruelty and blood
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when he pair that temple, it began to crumble to its final tomb. >> mr. douglas, a word with you please? come back with me sir. >> i heard from a telegraph operator, there is a wire that just came through from the united states, marshal to place you under unrest. >> the rest? what are the charges? >> conspiracy and accessory before the fact of murder. they plan to expedite you to virginia to stand trial with john brown. mr. douglas, i am a friend of your cause. i know that virginia justice will see guilty. i'll hang on until this message until you are safe and out of town. >> i have to leave for britain next month. >> mr. douglas, go at once!
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>> >> go quickly mr. douglas, and godspeed. i must get back to my work. >> frederik, the women in your counsel know that you've been fighting this cause for half a century? >> it's the man i'm trying to reach. if any of them are still -- unlimited must have the right to vote. >> do you really think you can change their minds? >> perhaps. i've changed a few in my time.
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>> perfect. >> let us stop the war of on the soil. and among the rebels that attack it. organize yourselves and to societies and communities. purchase arms for yourselves. learn how to use them. let us not only be ready when called, but let us have the opportunity to strike for the freedom of the slaves and the rights of human nature. for we shall be called, and we must be ready. >> thank you! >> thank you sir for accepting
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this visit. >> mr. douglas, your reputation precedes you. we appreciate your efforts for so many negro troops. now, tell me your concerns. >> to put it bluntly, mister president, our negro soldiers are receiving inferior training, lower pay and in other ways of being unfairly treated by the union army that won captured by the confederates, our murdered in cold blood. mister president, the negro soldier is willing to fight and die in this great war. but he must be seeing some signs from this administration that he simply isn't exchanging one form of oppression for another. >> mr. douglas, if this administration goes too far, we will bring down upon ourselves
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all that has fought for the negro. this will greatly hinder our ability to successfully improve this war. for we -- >> let us pray that this family never be separated again. >> what happens now, that? now that the people are free? >> there are papers that supposedly say we are free, but in my heart, i fear the danger that victory that you and charles and other black fans freedom will be lost. >> but that, president -- >> andrew johnson is no friend to the negro. >> you mean we've been suffering all these years for nothing? >> without the vote, liberties
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are mockery. the negro no longer be in slave to an injured vigil person, we will be a slave to society. it is the spirit of hate, the spirit of murder, spirit that will burn a family in their beds. but one thing i know, and that is, there is no middle ground for us. we must either have holed the rights of american citizens, or we must be exterminated. for we shall never again be slaves. [applause] ♪ ♪ ♪
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>> if you like it? >> it's beautiful! maybe too big. >> president hayes wouldn't have the united states marshal, the district of columbia living in a large cabin. >> mr. lincoln lived in a log cabin. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> how do you feel?
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>> -- what's wrong, dad? >> nothing my dear. everything is fine. >> pray for me. >> i met with president garfield today. first, he thanked me for supporting. then he informed me that no longer the united states marshal. i am to be appointed the recorder of deeds. or a clerk. >> lincoln never took a step back but have free
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administrations since then, has. that, you're not going to take that job are you? >> is there a choice? peoples pride demands that are negro holds some position in the government of the united states. i must prepare that pride ahead of my own. >> you done the right thing, fred. >> that, bad? coming here please. >> harriet! >> frederik! >> my goodness! my goodness!
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what a pleasant surprise. >> i can't stay. i couldn't come to washington without stopping by to say hello. >> it's been so long, harriet. brings back such pleasant memories. you know, harriet, most of would have done in my life has been public, but you did it in a private way. i've had the cause of the crowds, but on your greater deeds, known by only a few trembling, scared people. midnight sky, silent stars are witnesses to your moves. >> old age sure is not stopping that silver tongue of yours! [laughs]
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must be terribly lonely, frederik. with hannah gone and all the children gone out of the house. >> harriet, anna was the anchor of my life for 40 years. but, i have rosanna, charles, lewis, fred and i have my work. >> i hope this is hot enough for you. >> thank you rosanna. >> yes mr. douglas? >> the of the file on ramsey? >> i'll get it. >> thank you. miss? >> yes mr. douglas? >> i understand you enjoy
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barack. >> very much mister douglas. >> perhaps, perhaps you wouldn't mind accompanying me to the concert tonight? >> i'd be happy to. i have to get back to my correspondent. >> that, hi -- how could you do such a terrible thing? >> rosa isn't so terrible. an old man to seek a comfort of a loving wife? >> but you are not just anybody, dad. you are the leader of our people. what kind of example is this? if you insist on marrying at your age, why turn your back on
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our women to marry this -- >> that's nonsense rosita! black or white. male or female. we all have the right to follow the decisions of our hearts. i don't want to marry her simply because she is white. self accused and self convicted moral compass. rosette please, don't desert me. >> oh dad, really? >> rosanna, please. >> here he is!
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>> may i have your autograph? >> very good speech, sir very moving. >> may have you autographs or? >> thank you for those wonderful words, mr. douglas. >> mr. douglas, how has some of your involvement in the women's cause? >> iran away from slavery, it was for myself. but i advocated emancipation, it was for my people. when i stood up for the rights of women, it was out of the question that i found a little mobility in the absence.
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♪ ♪ ♪ >> hello, mr. douglass. i'm martin. how do you speak last week. >> yes, there was an inspiring affair. >> can i talk to you for a moment, mr. douglass? >> well, martin, i have left one meeting, i have barely had time to supper before i go to another. stopped by tomorrow, i will have more than just a moment. >> but i just have a question. >> all right, just one. >> sir, you lived in the old days, and in the new times. it seems all these rights we wanted are being taken away for us would at vice would you have for a young fellow like me who wants all people to live in liberty and justice >> agitate,
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martin. agitated. agitates. agitated. >> if there is no struggle, there is no progress. the struggle may be physical, and both mental and physical, but it must be a struggle. i have little hope for that freedom of the slave by pace.
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within our without the union, slavery must fall. we must rise. slavery cannot last. the rich landowners of other countries -- it's hardly necessary for me to say that i've already said. slavery is the common enemy of all man. stepped on the freestyle of massachusetts. never forget the justice is safety to the nation.
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