Nassau County, FL – As the leaders of Fernandina Beach City gathered for their regular meeting for the month of February, they honored not only the contributions of African Americans throughout our Nation’s history, but also the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass.
Frederick Douglass, born into slavery in 1818, was one of America’s most influential thinkers, writers, and speakers on matters of liberty and the United States Constitution. Douglass escaped the shackles of slavery in 1838 at the age of 20, and began to live the life of an abolitionist, licensed preacher, and skilled writer. Throughout his life, he affirmed the Founding Fathers’ message of free speech, personal responsibility, the right to keep and bear arms, and religious liberty. He promoted life empowering values that should resonate in the minds of Americans today: respect for the Constitution, respect for life, limited power of government, and economic prosperity.
In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson established African American History Month in February to honor the birthdays of three individuals who had a profound impact on America: Poet Langston Hughes, President Abraham Lincoln, and statesman Frederick Douglass. Since that time, America has taken time every year during the month of February to honor and commemorate the achievements and contributions of African Americans to our Nation.
On February 7, 2023 Fernandina Beach Mayor Bradly Bean issued a proclamation designating February 14, 2023 as Frederick Douglass Day. The proclamation, which was sponsored by Nassau County Citizens Defending Freedom (CCDF-Nassau) and Executive Director Jack Knocke, highlighted the life of Mr. Douglass and his many accomplishments as well as his struggles. Mr. Knocke, as well as the CCDF-Nassau Faith Leader, Linda Palin, were in attendance to present the proclamation during the meeting. “Our new organization here in Nassau County is all about fighting for the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.” Mr. Knocke stated. “No one can better epitomize being a freedom fighter than Frederick Douglass. Mr. Douglass’ story from slave to being the first black man nominated for president in the Republican National Convention in Chicago in 1888 is an astounding achievement all Americans can celebrate. That is what we aim to do: to reach across the cultural lines of our community and do our best to be a unifying catalyst in Nassau County.”
If you are interested in learning more about the legacy of Frederick Douglass, we encourage you to read Frederick Douglass Republicans: The Movement to Re-Ignite America’s Passion for Liberty by K. Carl Smith. As one of the leading experts on diversity engagement, K. Carl Smith has educated and empowered thousands of American citizens, and has changed the hearts, minds, lives, and votes of people across the political spectrum.