Frederick Douglass Handwritten Note: "I can love even an enemy..."
Item Number: 14903
Influential and early civil rights leader. 1 page Autograph Note Signed and dated 1866. Measuring 5 x 4.25 ".
Douglass writes in his hand in full: "I can love even an enemy if sure that he loves a loyal soldier.” He then signs boldly, "Fred: Douglass."
1866 was a major year for Douglass and his constituents in the push for black suffrage. Following a celebratory gathering in which 15,000 people gathered in the US capitol to celebrate Emancipation Douglass brought forward a delegation to officially meet with U.S. officials on the issue of suffrage. Though President Johnson vetoed the proposed act to expand the Freedmen's Bureau, Congress overrode his action and passed the measure.
Our quote alludes to an address that Douglass gave twenty years earlier in London, when he said that ‘the first gleam of Christian truth that beamed upon my dark mind, after having escaped the clutches of those who held me in slavery, was accompanied by the spirit of love…I could not have injured one hair of the head of my worst enemy.’ Indeed, this speech and his written quotation attest to Douglass's commitment to the peaceful pursuit of civil rights, which would deeply affect and shape the work of future activists such as Martin Luther King, Jr. In very good condition.