house resolution no.37

Reps. Fink, Beson, Martin, Tisdel, Schuette, Alexander, BeGole, Bezotte and Greene offered the following resolution:

A resolution to declare February 14, 2023, as Frederick Douglass Day in the state of Michigan.

Whereas, Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in February 1818 in the state of Maryland. He never knew the exact date of his own birth but adopted Valentine’s Day as his birthday after his mother Harriet Bailey called him her “Little Valentine”; and

Whereas, Mr. Douglass escaped from bondage at the age of 20, whereupon he began a life dedicated to the abolition of slavery in the United States and the recognition of Black Americans as free and equal citizens; and

Whereas, Frederick Douglass worked throughout his childhood to learn to read and write, even against the wishes of the family which claimed to own him, and shortly after his escape from slavery became a famed and persuasive orator, detailing to Northern audiences the horrors of life in the South for slaves and arguing for the fundamental equality of all Americans; and

Whereas, Mr. Douglass made several visits to Michigan, where he met with other proponents of abolition across the state, including in Detroit, Hillsdale, and Ypsilanti, and gave speeches on civil rights; and

Whereas, In freedom, Frederick Douglass married Anna Murray and raised five children, and following Anna’s death married Helen Pitts; and

Whereas, During the Civil War, Frederick Douglass recruited the first Black military unit in United States history, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, which included his sons Charles and Lewis; and

Whereas, Mr. Douglass knew and advised many prominent American statesmen and citizens of his day, including Ida B. Wells, Susan B. Anthony, Charles Remond, William Lloyd Garrison, and John Marshall Harlan, as well as Abraham Lincoln and every President of the United States who served after Lincoln until Douglass’ death in 1888; and

Whereas, Mr. Douglass served the United States as U.S. Marshal for the District of Columbia, Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia, and as Minister to Haiti; and

Whereas, To this day, Frederick Douglass’ autobiographies and speeches serve as powerful testimonies to the motto of Douglass’ newspaper the North Star, which asserts “Right is of no sex—Truth is of no Color—God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren”; and

Whereas, February 14, 2023, will be recognized as the 205th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ birth; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives, That the members of this legislative body declare February 14, 2023, as Frederick Douglass Day in the state of Michigan.