Stephanie’s View: Frederick Douglass, A Review Of A Man!

April 16, 2024

By Stephanie Woods-McKinney

While reading a book about one of the most recognized, influential, and inspiring abolitionists of the 19th century, titled “Frederick Douglass: A Novel,” I became extremely curious about the author Sidney Morrison. 

Sidney whom I would like to call by his first name as if we were collegiate alumni is as impactful in the 21st century” as was Mr. Douglass during his time in the early 19th. century- I wanted to know more about Sidney. As a retired educator, school principal, and member of the Board of Directors of the Association of California School Administrations, which is an organization run by principals and vice-principals. The Organization is extremely supportive of youth and advocates for their educational, social, and economic interests while structuring policies for empowerment and student development. 

“… the first Black teacher hired at Torrence High School …”

Although Sidney was an educator, this “Bronze Star” and decorated Army Veteran was also an elected official and held office as ‘State President’ from 1998 to 1999 he was able to see the need to tell this historic story as the first Black teacher hired at Torrence High School located in California during the 1970s.  Sidney’s perseverance as a Black man in America gives him the right to give additional details of the life of this historic figure. 

There are not enough conversations had of Mr. Frederick Bailey (Douglass) and most educational systems only teach a glimpse of the person, yet his vital and extremely impactful history of slavery, freedom, leadership, civil rights or the movement to end slavery, this man should be discussed, and his life learned as this man was a pinnacle part to our ‘civil liberties’.    

“… loving caring and hardworking father.”

Sidney Morrison gives in-depth details surrounding the becoming of ‘Frederick Douglass’-as I read the book, I learned more about the man I thought I knew. The way in storytelling is what makes the narrative, and Sidney tells more than I was ready or open-minded to know.  The book not only tells the origination of a ‘Revolutionist’, but it also goes deep into how it all began and how a life so fulfilled and so loving could be told by others in the form of a shrewd Black Liberating man without really showing an afraid, loving caring and hardworking father. 

From childhood- to the man I thought I knew, I learned so much in this book, that it shames me to have accepted literature that doesn’t tell the whole life of a man who meant so much my world. Frederick was so much more – learning of his childhood, his family life, and fatherhood looked at the man not just the former slave turned liberator. 

Related: Pre-order the book here when it drops on Amazon on June 18th, 2024.

The storyline is in perfect lining of each monumental time in his life and gives the reader a deeper explanation of the “why and the how” he became the figure we know.  The author used vocabulary that really digs into the times and takes you into history mentally and visually, which keeps you more and more intrigued.  When one mentions the name Frederick Douglass, most will think of him as one of our leaders of The Freedom Movement, but after reading the book ‘Frederick Douglass’ The Novel,  you will know more than you could have ever imagined.  Our inspirational activist was so much more – He was a slave, a husband, a father- and a Man!

Stephanie Woods-McKinney

Stephanie Woods-McKinney is a Bronx native who graduated Magna Cum Laude from The College of New Rochelle with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts. She is a vocal community activist who sits on Community Board #10 in the Bronx; is a Co-chair of the Youth & Education Committee and holds a deep love for Hip Hop culture and community activism. Stephanie writes throughout NYC, and Harlem, she has also received countless awards and letters of recognition for her hip-hop photojournalism and a ‘Citation of Merit’ from Eric Adams.

Photo Credit: 1) Frederick Bailey/Johnson/Douglas(s)  the legend, The Man! by Stephanie Woods.

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