Was Fredrick Douglas an integrationist or is he a Black leader we should look up to? I’ve read some things about him like how he treated his Black wife, his pompous beliefs about “education”, and how he didn’t support the John Brown raid that make we wonder if he was really for all Black people or just some.

Fredrick Douglas was an Abolitionist, Integrationism was not even fully formed in his era.

FD is absolutely a “Black Leader” we should look up to, just read the man’s writings, the history of his life, and his contributions to the intellectual development of the African Diaspora.  I’m still blown away by his text, he was truly a great mind, one of the greatest we’ve produced in the Western Hemisphere, to this day. 

Now, we are dealing with a man who was raised in chattel bondage; so of  course he’s gonna have some severe issues, he was a traumatized man, I’ve yet to met an African in the US who’s not traumatized; even now, but imagine back in his era.  So yes, he’s gonna be far from perfect; but in totality, FD has made great contributions to Africans in particular and humanity in general. 

As for John Brown, I think it was a good call not to run off with him, even though FD admitted that he was afraid.  JBs raid was poorly planned and even more poorly executed; even though I respect the zeal of him and his sons.  FD served us better by not being slaughtered in some failed upraising lead by a JB. 

I’m not for idolizing Icons of the Black Struggle and we should highlight their missteps and where they were wrong, but not in order to delete them from our history, or diminish their contribution, but for our own betterment, so that we don’t repeat their mistakes.  So, when it’s time to celebrate, we celebrate our heroes.  When it’s time to study, we study our heroes.  When it’s time to critique, we critique our heroes.  We can do all of that; we can recognize flaws and failings without destroying legacies or rejecting the constructive contributions individuals have made. 

We need to stop looking for the pure “Black Leader” and start supporting Component and Effective Black Leaders; and yes sometime even the most competent Black Leaders will fuck up, we just make the correction and keep moving forward. 

Don’t bury the flaws, don’t allow the flaws to turn you away from valuable teachings and insights.  I think the whole Messiah Complex got us fucked up, thinking we can only honor or follow those who are without sin.