A Lesson from the Past

The life and struggles of 19th century escaped slave and public activist Frederick Douglass came to life before the eyes of James Wilson Young Middle School’s seventh-graders when they attended an interactive assembly program in the school’s auditorium. Actor Frederick Morsell has been traveling the country as Mr. Douglass since the late 1980s, speaking with hundreds of students and adults about race relations, gender equality and the events of Mr. Douglass’ life.

During the assembly, the students mentally traveled back in time to a period when slavery was still legal in America and prevalent in every American’s everyday life. Throughout the program, the students had the chance to learn about this historic time period from Mr. Morsell’s first-person narrative, which detailed the upbringing of Mr. Douglass in the South and how he transformed himself from a slave to a free man. The students were captivated by the program’s messages and the unique historical perspective it provided and left instilled with the mission to take advantage of every opportunity provided to them.