Archive for the ‘Martin Luther King’ Category

Without Martin Luther King and Roland Burris; No Barack Obama

January 27, 2009

He is just like Martin Luther King.  He’s a “Trail Blazer.” No not “Hot Rod The Hair God.”

Related:
Blagojevich: Wacko, Pathological, Grandiose and Narcissistic: But Criminal?

Roland Burris, the Senator who built himself a mausoleum larger than many condos, has likened himself to Martin Luther King.

“Without Martin Luther king and me there would be no Barack Obama,” said the famed and self-acclaimed black American.

Burris joins Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich who claimed the MLK mantle just the other day….  That’s old news….

burris1_oconnor Above: Roland Burris has erected a mausoleum listing his accompishments in Chicago’s Oak Woods Cemetery.
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U. S Rep. Bobby Rush speaks after Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich ... 
Governor Rod Blagojevich (L), U. S Rep. Bobby Rush and Roland Burris, right, Dec. 30, 2008 in Chicago.(AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

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Senator Roland Burris says there would be no Barack Obama in the White House if not for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Burris himself.

The junior senator from Illinois spoke at a Rainbow PUSH Coalition breakfast in Chicago yesterday.

Burris was the first African-American elected to state office in Illinois.

Regarding the man who appointed him to the Senate, Burris said Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich 1/8 1/8 blah-GOYA-vich 3/8 3/8 has to make his own decisions.
Burris said the governor is innocent until proven guilty.

Joining Burris at the breakfast were fellow U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn, and state Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Fox news….

Barack Obama Essay: Martin Luther King Day

January 19, 2009

On the day of the first inauguration to take place in this city, a small band of citizens gathered to watch Thomas Jefferson assume office. Our young and fragile democracy had barely finished a long and contentious election that tested our founding ideals, and there were those who feared our union might not endure.

It was a perilous moment. But Jefferson announced that while we may differ in opinion, we all share the same principles. “Let us, then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind,” he said, urging those assembled to begin anew the work of building a nation.


Barack Obama wrote this essay for The Washington Times

In the more than two centuries since, inaugurations have taken place during times of war and peace, depression and prosperity. Beneath the unfinished dome of the Capitol, a young lawyer from Illinois swore an oath to defend the Constitution a divided nation threatened to tear apart. In an era of unprecedented crisis, an optimistic New Yorker refused to allow us to succumb to fear. In a time of great change, a young man from Massachusetts convinced us to think anew with regard to serving our fellow man.

At each and every moment, the American people have joined with one heart and one mind – not just to commemorate a new president, but to celebrate those common ideals, share our hopes for a brighter future and resolve to advance our bold experiment.

Tomorrow, we’ll gather at a new time of great challenge for the American people. Our nation is at war. Our economy is in turmoil. We have much work to do toward restoring prosperity and renewing the promise of this nation.

And yet while our problems may be new, what is required to overcome them is not. What is required is the same perseverance and idealism that our Founders displayed. What is also required is that we break free from rigid ideology and small thinking, and together grab hold of this opportunity to bridge partisan divides and deliver change for the American people.

The state of our union and challenges of a new century demand that we move beyond the old debates and stale arguments. We must focus today not on the dogmas of left and right, but on practical answers to the difficult problems of our times.

The impetus for that change will come from the American people, where the ultimate power in our democracy lies.

That is why the events of this week are not simply about the inauguration of another American president – they are a celebration of our democracy. We have made this inauguration the most open and accessible in our history, with the sole purpose of involving more citizens than ever before. And as we gather on a mall, in our neighborhoods and in our homes to begin our new journey together, we remember that our greatest strength has always been found in one another.

For the first time ever, we’re opening up the entire length of our National Mall for an inauguration. We’ve invited ordinary citizens from across the country, welcomed local schoolchildren and their families to the parade, and worked with local organizations to distribute free inaugural ball tickets to D.C. residents and military families. And we’ll broadcast and webcast the first-ever Neighborhood Inaugural Ball so that all Americans can join us – wherever their neighborhood may be.

We’ve heeded Jefferson’s words by involving Democrats, Republicans and independents in all aspects of this inauguration. Tonight, we will hold a series of dinners to honor leaders whose lifetime of public service has been enhanced by a dedication to bipartisan achievement, including my former opponent, Sen. John McCain.

We will couple the spirit of this inauguration with the celebration of the life of a preacher who once stood and shared his dream for America on the very mall where we’ll gather tomorrow. Martin Luther King lived his life as a servant to others, and today, ordinary citizens all across the country honor that legacy through the more than 10,000 service projects they’ve created on USAservice.org. And I’m asking the American people to answer the call and turn today’s efforts into an ongoing commitment to enrich the lives of Americans in their communities, their cities and their country.

After all, it’s that commitment to one another that’s always led us forward as a people. Because from those first citizens to the millions technology will connect this week, through times of great challenge and great change, we have remembered that fundamental American truth – that what unites us is always more powerful than what divides us.

That is the spirit that has always sustained us. That is the principle that must drive us now. And I am confident that if we come together and summon that great American spirit once again, we will meet the challenges of our time and write the next great chapter in our American story.

Editor’s note: President-elect Barack Obama wrote this essay for The Washington Times in honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

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Obama, Biden, Families Emphasize Service on MLK Day

By BEN FELLER, Associated Press Writer

Now Obama is asking the nation to honor King’s legacy by making a renewed commitment to service. That has long been the goal of the King holiday, even if many see it as a day off.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/inauguration_rdp

The Obama-Lincoln Parallel: A Closer Look

January 19, 2009

“Lincoln and Obama shared a loved of words, a belief that rhetoric and oratory could change people’s minds, and the way they would express things, the confidence they would have in a debate – not by fiery oratory, but by a calming presence, a reasoned argument,” says Rice University History Professor Douglas Brinkley.

Brinkley cautions against too close a comparison between Lincoln and Obama.  “When Lincoln came to Washington, seven states had already seceded from the Union. And the Civil War would kill countless Americans.”

Barack Obama and his family recently visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. 

From CBS News

With Lincoln often ranking atop historians’ surveys of the greatest U.S. presidents, who wouldn’t want the “Lincolnesque” moniker applied to them? Obama’s circle goes further in portraying him as also fulfilling the legacies of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

“What all of those men have in common is a kind of rallying the country together behind words,” Brinkley says. “If people start to have the name Barack Obama uttered in the same breath as Martin Luther King or Abraham Lincoln, that’s walking in pretty tall cotton.”

As Brinkley sees it, a better analogy lies between Obama and Franklin Roosevelt, who inherited the Great Depression or Lyndon Johnson, who launched the Great Society programs. The Lincoln inspiration, Brinkley says, is nothing new.

“All Presidents walk the corridor and think about Lincoln. They stare at his portrait. Richard Nixon used to drink gin and have the Secret Service take him to the Lincoln Memorial at night just to talk to Lincoln’s statue,” Brinkley says. Theodore Roosevelt wore a lock of Lincoln’s hair in a ring on his finger.

“We don’t realize how hard it is to be President and how lonely it is in the White House,” Brinkley says, especially when rebel troops are occupying Maryland and Virginia.
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“It’s very hard to say who has a tougher job,” says Holzer. “Is it the man who’s facing a fiscal crisis worse than any since the Depression and also the specter of nuclear war, terrorism, health pandemics, and all of the issues that a 21st century president has to deal with and hopefully solve? Or is it the President who is facing the destruction of the entire country that he’s been elected to lead?”

Related:
 Obama Reaching Too Much Toward Lincoln?
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Obama’s “Lincoln Obsession”

For Obama, Media Can’t Wait, Can’t Criticize

Historians say Obama is no Lincoln

Obama And The Press: What’s The Future?

Obama and Lincoln: Historians Mixed (As Usual)

Read all the CBS story:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009
/01/17/politics/main4731552.shtml

CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/
01/17/lincoln.obsession/index.html

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AFP

The spirit of Abraham Lincoln will suffuse Tuesday’s inauguration day, as Barack Obama channels the example of America’s greatest president for a national struggle to overcome the trials of today.

From the Bible that Obama intends to use at his swearing-in to the food he will eat afterwards, the 44th president is overtly invoking his illustrious predecessor in an audacious grasp at history’s inspiration.

“The comparisons to Lincoln, which he has not run away from, set up a high standard, particularly for Americans who don’t really follow politics,” Princeton University presidential historian Julian Zelizer said.

“I think his goals are threefold: first to connect himself with a great leader; second, to place himself in a broader narrative about the nation overcoming its racial past; and third, about being a leader who can heal divisions in difficult times,” he said.

In the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, Obama is reaching back to another lanky lawyer from Illinois who surmounted doubts about his political inexperience to win the presidency at a time of the greatest crisis.

President from 1861 to 1865, Lincoln steered the north to victory over the rebel south in the Civil War, abolished slavery and handed down some of the most inspirational oratory of US history.

His adroitly managed administration was a “team of rivals” drawn from his competitors for the Republican nomination, an example that the Democratic Obama has emulated in naming Hillary Clinton to his cabinet as secretary of state.

In his books and speeches, Obama has described Lincoln as his political hero. He launched his quest to become America’s first black president from the steps of the Illinois state legislature, where Lincoln also served.

For the over-arching theme of his inauguration, Obama has dusted off words from Lincoln’s immortal Gettysburg Address — “A New Birth of Freedom.”

There is a risk of rhetorical over-reach as the untested Obama takes office with the economy deep in crisis and US troops engaged in two wars. But he is not shying away from the comparison, re-reading Lincoln as he hones his own inaugural address.

“You know, there’s a genius to Lincoln that is not going to be matched,” he said in an ABC television interview, claiming to be “intimidated” at the power of Lincoln’s second inaugural address.

But like Lincoln, Obama says he will use his inaugural speech to urge Americans to come together in a spirit of sacrifice, defeat the present challenge and remake their nation as a “beacon for the world.”

And intimidated or not, Obama was funneling the Lincoln example en route to the inauguration, on Saturday retracing his predecessor’s train journey into Washington from Philadelphia and Baltimore.

Obama was Sunday beginning the official inaugural festivities with a public event at the imposing Lincoln Memorial, at the far end of the National Mall from Congress, where he will be sworn in Tuesday.

For that occasion, in front of a crowd expected by city authorities to number millions, Obama will rest his left hand on Lincoln’s own Bible — borrowed from the Library of Congress — to take the oath of office.

Afterwards, Obama will sit down for lunch with congressional leaders, Supreme Court justices and members of his incoming cabinet to eat the kinds of food enjoyed by Lincoln.

The VIP guests will dine on seafood stew, wild game, root vegetables and apple cake off a replica service of the china set selected by Lincoln’s wife at the start of his presidency.

But perhaps just as well, one Washington site intimately connected to Lincoln will not figure in Obama’s celebration. Ford’s Theatre, where the 16th president was assassinated, is closed for renovation.

Prostitution Banned During Obama Events, But in Lincoln’s Time….

January 19, 2009

You invite a couple of million of your closest friends to the biggest bash your town has ever thrown. You extend bar hours nearly till dawn. You import thousands of cops to keep the streets safe. You commandeer every bit of paved surface you can think of to accommodate innumerable buses packed with visitors.

And then you plaster the street lamp poles in a central part of the city with big red signs “WARNING” all that “This area has been declared a PROSTITUTION FREE ZONE.”

What’s wrong with this picture?

By Marc Fisher
The Washington Post

Now, maybe I’m not reading this the way your average tourist or Obama supporter would, but to me, this sign–one of a whole bunch D.C. police have posted between 4th and 5th streets NW from Eye to L streets–means that everywhere the signs aren’t, prostitution is just fine and dandy.

Read the rest:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/rawfisher/
2009/01/welcome_to_inauguration_island.html

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In The Lincoln Presidency, House Of Ill Repute Stood on the Mall

By John E. Carey

Millions of Americans are in Washington DC to participate in the events of the New Obama Presidency.

May have enjoyed comparisons to Lincoln, and walked over the site of the finest Washington DC whore house ever.
Mary Ann Hall catered to the nation’s elite in Washington as the proprietor of the capital’s best brothel during the Civil War.

Located just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol on Maryland Avenue on what now is part of the Mall, her house, a three-story structure nearly the size of a city block, included parlors, an elegant dining room and, almost assuredly, the most attractive of the city’s estimated 5,000 “soiled doves.”

Prostitution was not a crime in the 19th century, and any concentration of troops during the Civil War attracted flocks of “camp followers” who were available for a price. Women often would show up after battles and offer their services to the generals as nurses. The “nursing,” however, frequently became an open door to those less honest and caring, and when armies experienced theft, prostitution and other less traditional forms of nursing, generals sometimes rejected offers of female help.

Houses of prostitution were fairly common in America’s larger cities, and Washington had as many as 450 entertainment venues on the “wilder side.” The presence of affluent politicians, lobbyists and the hierarchy of the government departments helped make Washington a man’s home away from home.

Elected representatives in those years did not routinely bring wives and families to Washington. Service in Congress was not necessarily even a full-time job. The city was hot and steamy. Nights could be filled with drinking, smoking, gambling and frolicking with willing companions of the gentler sex, far from the eyes of the electorate at home.

Mary Ann Hall took every opportunity to provide such indulgences. The throngs of men willing and able to pay her comparatively exorbitant rates deserved the best. Imported hats, dresses and perfume enhanced her staff. Magnums of champaign added an air of dignity, gentility and grace. Fine food filled the supper tables. Her real goal as hostess, however, was to supply attractive women.

The fashion of the time was an hourglass shape – an ample bosom and tiny waist – which not all women could achieve without corsets reinforced with steel belts called busks. Busks, champagne corks, fine china and combs to hold spectacular hair creations all have been excavated from the site where Hall’s house once stood. Historians and archaeologists believe the quality of these items shows the elegance Hall brought to her entertainment trade. Several of them, including rusted busks, have been preserved by the Smithsonian Institution.

Hall insisted on certain standards of decorum, and her house, which opened around 1837, flourished until it closed in 1878. She was never raided by police, was not the subject of public disgrace or even controversy and was never discussed in newspapers. Editors in those days believed that what was private should stay private. Unless a public figure disgraced himself so thoroughly that prosecution was in order, private excesses remained unreported.

Rep. Daniel E. Sickles of New York learned the limits the hard way. Rumors abounded in the late 1850s that he maintained close personal relationships with a variety of women. Though tongues wagged, his private pleasures never merited newspaper interest. Then, when he murdered his much-younger wife’s lover, Barton Key, the son of Francis Scott Key, who wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner”- detailed accounts of the court proceedings made newspaper sales soar.

Sickles shoots Key in 1859 
Sickles shoots Key in 1859; from a newspaper

The 1859 trial and associated juicy details sold newspapers and became for a time the talk of Washington and New York. Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper printed 200,000 copies as the trial opened. Demand forced a second printing of 300,000. (During the Civil War, then-Gen. Sickles’ private indiscretions returned to the realm of private matters. After the war, despite routine and well-documented misbehavior, his private life remained taboo to journalists.)

Mary Ann Hall became a wealthy woman. She died in 1886 and was buried in Congressional Cemetery beneath a carved stone statue of herself.

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Ladies’ general

The slang word for prostitute, hooker, is generally thought to have originated during the Civil War. For generations, rumors claimed that Union Gen. “Fighting Joe” Hooker had inspired the nickname by his amorous relationships.


General Joe Hooker

There is, however, a recorded use of the word before the war, according to the Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins. The dictionary’s authors queried historian Bruce Catton, who agreed that the term came into use before the Civil War but that it became popular during the conflict. An area south of Constitution Avenue was known for its extracurricular activities and was referred to as “Hooker’s Division.” A Civil War officer, Charles Francis Adams Jr., referred to Hooker’s headquarters as “as place to which no self-respecting man likes to go, and no decent woman could go – a combination of barroom and brothel.”

Hooker should be remembered, however, for more than his moral laxities. He was wounded at Antietam and fought at Second Bull Run, and Lincoln made him commander of the Army of the Potomac after Ambrose Burnside’s disastrous defeat at Fredericksburg.

The Battle of Chancellorsville began well and ended badly for the 48-year-old West Point graduate, and just days before Gettysburg, Hooker asked to be relieved. The president appointed George Gordon Meade his successor as commander of the Army of the Potomac.

John E. Carey is a frequent contributor to the Civil War page and The Washington Times.

http://civilwarstoriesofinspiration.wordpress.com/

Lincoln’s Top African American Advisor Recalled on Martin Luther King, Obama Days

January 19, 2009

On Martin Luther King Day and the day prior to the inauguration of the first black President of the United States, Barack Obama, it may be fitting to recall Frederick Douglass.

Douglass was Abraham Lincoln’s top African American advisor and he had permission to visit the president whenever he needed to.

Slave born and self educated, Douglass was the finest African American orator of his day — probably only equalled by Martin Luther King and Barack Obama years later.

By John E. Carey

To serious students of the Civil War, Frederick Douglass usually requires little introduction. Douglass excelled as a leader and role model. Slave, writer, accomplished orator, abolitionist, friend and advisor to Lincoln, Douglass spearheaded the movement to allow black men to enlist in the Union forces.

Douglass was the first African American ever invited to the White House (by Abraham Lincoln) and he coined the term “Ebony and Ivory” when he invited Stephen Douglas to debate slavery (Douglas demurred).

Douglass threw himself into the national debate with zeal and enthusiasm. He fought to end slavery within the United States in the decades prior to the Civil War. Additionally, he complimented “talk” with action, managing an underground railroad that rescued hundreds and maybe even thousands of slaves by spiriting them into Canada.
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Frederick Douglass portrait.jpg
Frederick Douglass

Three turning points in Douglass’ fascinating life tell us much about the man who owns a unique place in American history. The first turning point came when John Brown tried to enlist Douglass, his powers of persuasion and his reputation into the Harper’s Ferry raid. Determining that the pacifists’ approach to abolition fostered by Douglass was not working, John Brown and William Lloyd Garrison set upon a more violent course of action. They wanted to enlist Douglass to help in their plan.In the very first issue of his anti-slavery newspaper, the Liberator, William Lloyd Garrison wrote, “I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. . . . I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.”

Douglass became enthralled with Garrison and the Liberator. “My soul was set on fire,” Douglass wrote of the paper. In 1839, Douglass began to write essays for the Liberator, which ultimately resulted in a long career of writing and speaking out against slavery. His newspaper notoriety made him a lightening rod for the abolitionist cause, and he became on the first truly nationally known black abolitionists.
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A former slave himself, Douglass had endured feeding from a trough, whippings and other humiliating privations. Douglass understood the plight of his fellow black men better than many others. His essays counted and white leaders in American took note.Even though Douglass and Garrison waged a public argument over the methods and tactics of achieving abolition, Douglass drew the attention of John Brown of Kansas.

Related:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITI
CS/01/18/obama.sunday/index.html

Brown believed that Douglass would like his idea to free slaves by attacking federal property in the deeply divided areas of Maryland and Virginia. Brown thought he could incite a revolt of slaves everywhere; and that Douglass might eagerly help him do just that.

In 1859, John Brown rented a farm near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and began planning his attack on Harper’s Ferry. He invited Douglass to a meeting in the hopes that he might recruit Douglass into the scheme.Douglass met with Brown in August, 1859.

John Brown, c.1856.

When Douglass heard the violent and illegal nature of Brown’s planned attack on the federal arsenal, Douglass knew that lawlessness would only alienate the support of the white community. This turning point marked Douglass as a moderate who refused to support violent or lawless opportunists in the cause of abolition.

Had Douglass become a part of Brown’s cabal, he certainly would have lost his standing with white abolition leaders and may have wound up alongside Brown on the gallows.At the outset of the Civil War, Douglass established two goals for his life: the emancipation of all the slaves in southern and border states and the establishment of the right of black men to enlist and serve in the Union Army. These goals would lead Douglass to two more turning points, both involving President Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln

Douglass launched what modern observers might call a “media blitz,” calling for the emancipation of the slaves. He created a pressure cooker, of sorts, for President Lincoln. Lincoln knew in his heart that Douglass was right to want the freedom of all the slaves, but agonizing defeats on the battlefield, rising casualty figures, and resistance to the draft caused Lincoln to balk. Lincoln didn’t want the emancipation controversy to become another reason for white northerners to take sides against the war.

But Douglass would not relent. Understanding well Lincoln’s political considerations, Douglass still believed emancipation must be achieved as soon as possible. This second turning point caused Douglass to kept up his pressure on the president. Douglass authored strongly worded published essays and gave innumerable speeches not directly attacking Lincoln but clearly supporting emancipation. And Lincoln relented: deciding he must free the slaves as soon as the Union Army turned back Lee’s forces at Antietam.

Frederick Douglass’ final turning point came when he became distressed at Lincoln’s failure to legalize the enlistment of black men into the Union Army after emancipation. If black men were free and full citizens, Douglass argued, they had the right and privilege of service in their nation’s military forces. They had the right to participate as combatants in their nation’s war.Douglass knew than emancipation was not his final goal. He wanted all black men to become citizens and he knew that the road to citizenship could come through service to the nation.

Said Douglass, “Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters U.S., let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pocket, and there is no power on earth which can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship in the United States.:Unable to contain his distress over Lincoln’s slow response on this issue, Douglass departed for Washington D.C. – and his third turning point. Douglass went to the White House to confront Lincoln over the issue of black enlistment.

Lincoln received the hostile Douglass in his usual dignified and gentlemanly manner. Lincoln explained that many of his generals expressed doubt about enlisting the black men.Although Douglass was not pleased with Lincoln’s response, Douglass experienced another turning point. He knew this was a time for cooperation and reconciliation. He left the White House with Lincoln’s promise to ultimately allow black men full rights and responsibilities in the Army. Lincoln asked for understanding and a little more time.

Douglass returned to Boston and a short time later became one of the best recruiters of black men into the Union Army.

Frederick Douglass inspired all men to greater things. His greatness can be seen in his turning points: the rejection of John Brown’s violence, his indefatigable refusal to give in on important issues such as emancipation, and his ability to reconcile and compromise with other leaders like Lincoln.

Douglass’ turning points allowed him to ultimately achieve all his objectives.On April 14, 1876, Frederick Douglass gave an oration in memory of Abraham Lincoln. Douglass’ words that day tell us much about both men:“Friends and fellow-citizens, the story of our presence here is soon and easily told. We are here in the District of Columbia, here in the city of Washington, the most luminous point of American territory; a city recently transformed and made beautiful in its body and in its spirit; we are here in the place where the ablest and best men of the country are sent to devise the policy, enact the laws, and shape the destiny of the Republic; we are here, with the stately pillars and majestic dome of the Capitol of the nation looking down upon us; we are here, with the broad earth freshly adorned with the foliage and flowers of spring for our church, and all races, colors, and conditions of men for our congregation–in a word, we are here to express, as best we may, by appropriate forms and ceremonies, our grateful sense of the vast, high, and preeminent services rendered to ourselves, to our race, to our country, and to the whole world by Abraham Lincoln.”

Frederick Douglass: a great American leader and achiever, shaped by his turning points.