The Responsibilities of Frederick Douglass45 min
- How can one individual’s responsibility influence a community?
- How can this affect society?
- How does individual responsibility play a part in a constitutional republic?
- Students will understand the virtue of responsibility as represented in the life of Frederick Douglass.
- Responsibility: Frederick Douglass and Responsibility Essay
- Discussion Guide – Frederick Douglass and Responsibility
- Virtue in Action – The Responsibilities of Frederick Douglass
- Responsibility Worksheet
- Frederick Douglass and Responsibility Answer Key
- Civic virtue
Douglass, Frederick. My Bondage and My Freedom. N.p.: Create Space Independent Platform, 2013.
Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Unabr. ed. N.p.: Dover, 1995.
National Park Service. Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. http://www.nps.gov/frdo/
Distribute a plain sheet of paper (8.5” x 11” or larger) to each student. Instruct them to fold it into fourths and then unfold, so that they have four sections to their paper. Have students do a quick-draw of each section, one at a time, as follows:
- your home
- your neighborhood
- the school
- another place where you regularly spend time
All quick-draws should be simple line-drawings or maps, each completed in about one minute.
Assign students to groups of 4 or 5. Distribute to each small group of students a set of colored pencils (at least three different colors). Instruct them as follows:
- On each of the four drawings, in one color, identify and label places that represent where other people (parents, babysitters when young, teachers, coaches, neighbors, etc.) have shown responsibility for them and their families.
- On each of the four drawings, in a second color, identify and label places that represent where you, in some regular way, show responsibility toward other people and places.
- On each of the four drawings, in a third color, identify and label places that represent where you have not yet, but could begin to demonstrate responsibility toward other people and places.
Instruct students to describe and explain their responsibility maps to the other members of their small group. If time allows, invite them to find commonalities among the kinds of responsibility they share in various places, and the types of responsibility they do not yet have, but that they believe they are ready to take on.
Have students read the Responsibility: Frederick Douglass and Responsibility Essay with a partner or in small groups.
After reading the essay, have students answer the questions on the Discussion Guide.
If time allows, go over the discussion guide questions in a full class format, encouraging students to share the answers they came up with in their groups.
Have students complete the Virtue in Action – The Responsibilities of Frederick Douglass activity as an exit ticket.
Have students complete the Responsibility Worksheet essay prompt.
Frederick Douglass’s Path to Freedom
Explores Frederick Douglass' escape from slavery.
Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, 1845
Use this primary source text to explore key historical events.
Reading Frederick Douglass’ Letter to Thomas Auld | A Primary Source Close Read w/ BRI
Kirk Higgins is joined by David Bobb, President of the Bill of Rights Institute, to read Frederick Douglass’s 1848 letter to Thomas Auld, his former enslaver. Through the letter, they'll explore Douglass' incredible story and how he connected his horrific experiences as an enslaved man to a strong moral argument against slavery. How does Douglass define his own humanity and the natural rights of humankind?