Leaders of the Equality Movement Essay

1400 Words6 Pages
Americans, during the second half of the nineteenth century, believed in the notion of equality, but a widely held definition of the word did not arise. This common definition did not arise because equality did not focus on one particular movement, but it spanned several fields of movements. Leaders of these movements defined equality differently because they all came from various backgrounds which lead them to various beliefs. Frederick Douglas, a former slave, used the word equality to further the cause of the right of vote to African Americans because of his perception that the vote would lead to African Americans becoming the same as white, while Chief Joseph, the Chief of the Nez Perce tribe, saw time after time seizure of land used…show more content…
Education would be the only way for Blacks to have the opportunity to be on the same level as whites and show that the Black man can indeed work hard. Rejecting the right to vote would, “lead us to undervalue ourselves...and to feel that we have no possibilities like other men.” If African Americans undervalue themselves by not being educated they would have less the opportunity to show to whites they can work hard and achieve more than just farm work they endured in slavery. Universal suffrage is the right of every freed man in America, and Douglas wanted not to be the, “exception” and whites not to, “brand us with the stigma of inferiority.” Douglas believed that African Americans had every right to be on equal footing with the white man, and the only way to get rid of that sense of inferiority was to enfranchise African Americans. 2 Douglas came from the white context that African Americans should wait and, “in the natural course of events, the right of suffrage will be extended to the negro,” but to Douglas this was not equality. Once the Civil War was over, whites would forget the plight of the equality of the black man, and then , “it requires the exercise of a higher power to
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