Summer Memes Make Me Feel Fine: Pickle

Spicey’s out, The Mooch is loose and Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been at the podium facing reporters every day. Albeit, she started a rather odd tradition in her first White House Press Secretary: reading Donald Trump’s fan mail.

If you missed this amidst the healthcare/Mooch/Russia/general insanity in Washington, here’s a brief recap. On Wednesday, SHS announced she’ll be doing something new at the top of the daily briefing, reading letters from people who write to the president, and incidentally talking about how much they love him. The first is from 9-year-old Dylan Harbin, who also goes by the nickname Pickle. SHS read his letter outloud (and answered his questions – and gave her regards from the president to Pickle). Here is his handwritten letter:

But of course this all seemed fishy (besides feeling like straight up North Korea propaganda shit), and the geniuses of Twitter weren’t letting this Pickle story slide. I mean, is Pickle even real?? After all, Donald Trump Jr. used to have a doll called Captain Pickle AND Mike Pence’s cat is named Pickle. COINCIDENCE?!? The answer is unfortunately yes he’s real, BTW. But before the Washington Post conducted their investigative report, the jury was still out. And here are some of the Twitter jury’s best responses to #PickleGate 2017.

Hot Takes: Anthony Scaramucci Be Lookin’ Like…

Well. Sean Spicer managed to last a whole six months before callin’ quits  on the Press Secretary gig. And was it the constant lying he had to do in front of reporters that was the straw that broke the gum-chewing camel’s back? No. It was (allegedly) the hiring of New York businessman Anthony Scaramucci that caused Spicey to step down.

What is it about Scaramucci that Spicer doesn’t like? This is what we know about him:

  • Has degrees from both Tufts & Harvard Law School
  • Worked at Goldman Sachs (alert alert) as the VP of private wealth management
  • Also worked at Lehman Brothers (alert alert alert)
  • Started his own hedge fund investment firm, SkyBridge Capital in 2015
  • Sold his stake in the company to a Chinese billionaire in January (questionable) in order to get a job at the WH
  • Served on Trump’s transition team & was a surrogate on various TV appearances (like the time he compared Jared Kushner to Alexander Hamilton)
  • He’s super into being fully transparent
  • He loves quotes

But of course, as soon as it was announced that Scaramucci was named communications director, Twitter didn’t necessarily look up all his qualifications at first – they saw the guy on TV and gave some hot takes on the new guy. Of course we don’t condone judging anyone solely by their appearances, but when it comes to this administration, all bets are off. Here are some of our favorite hot takes on Scaramouche, Scaramouche (will he do the Fandango?).

My favorite of them all:

*There’s more to this. It’s great*

Way Too Timely Quotes From Alexander Hamilton on His 213th Death Anniversary

Legacy? What is legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see. Or for some folks, it’s a transparent series of fuck-ups involving collusion, sexual assault, misogyny, racism, and lies that will live on forever in the Fake News. But hey, to each his own, right?

213 years ago today, Alexander Hamilton died after his duel with Aaron Burr. Five years ago, this post would’ve been moo (it’s like a cow’s opinion). But 2017’s hottest founding father is relevant to our interests again, which is why I’m writing this at all. But what’s even more interesting is that the trials, tribulations, and non-stop essays (including all the other 51) Ham & Co. went through all those years ago, is perhaps annoyingly prescient now, thanks to the state of our Union. So, to honor (I guess?) A. Ham and the legacy seeds he left behind, here are a few quotes from the decorated war vet that remind us that even two centuries later, passionate essays written on parchment aren’t exclusive to topics relating to separating from a harmful demagogue.

From Objections and Answers Respecting the Administration , August 1792. A letter in which Ham calls out the nasty folks who alleged that he was working to reinstitute a monarchy in the States.

“The truth unquestionably is, that the only path to a subversion of the republican system of the Country is, by flattering the prejudices of the people, and exciting their jealousies and apprehensions, to throw affairs into confusion, and bring on civil commotion. Tired at length of anarchy, or want of government, they may take shelter in the arms of monarchy for repose and security.

Those then, who resist a confirmation of public order, are the true Artificers of monarchy—not that this is the intention of the generality of them. Yet it would not be difficult to lay the finger upon some of their party who may justly be suspected. When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits—despotic in his ordinary demeanour—known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty—when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion—to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day—It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may “ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.

A letter from A. Ham to Theodore Sedgwick, Massachusetts Senator & Continental Congress delegate, re: the Election of 1800 between Adams and Jefferson (who we know Ham did not like much)

“For my individual part my mind is made up. I will never more be responsible for him [Adams] by my direct support—even though the consequence should be the election of Jefferson. If we must have an enemy at the head of the Government, let it be one whom we can oppose & for whom we are not responsible, who will not involve our party in the disgrace of his foolish and bad measures. Under Adams as under Jefferson the government will sink. The party in the hands of whose chief it shall sink will sink with it and the advantage will all be on the side of his adversaries.”

Federalist Paper No. 1: 

“… of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.”

Elliot’s Debates

“Unless your government is respectable, foreigners will invade your rights; and to maintain tranquillity you must be respectable; even to observe neutrality you must have a strong government.”

(He was chosen to be part of the) Constitutional Convention, 1787:

All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and well-born, the other the mass of the people. The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and, however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true in fact. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give, therefore, to the first class a distinct, permanent share in the government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second, and, as they cannot receive any advantage by a change, they therefore will ever maintain good government. Can a democratic Assembly, who annually revolve in the mass of the people, be supposed steadily to pursue the public good? Nothing but a permanent body can check the imprudence of democracy. Their turbulent and uncontrolling disposition requires checks.

From the New York Ratifying Convention, 1788

“As riches increase and accumulate in few hands . . . the tendency of things will be to depart from the republican standard.”

Federalist Paper No. 10:

“Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people.”

Federalist Paper No. 25:

“It is a truth which the experience of all ages has attested, that the people are always most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion.”

Federalist Paper No. 70

“Men often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike.”

 

The Twitter Gift That Keeps On Covfefe

gavinThe internet can be a very scary place. And then it can be the greatest thing to ever exist. Exhibit A:

Last night, or rather around midnight Washington, D.C., time, Donald “I have the best words” Trump tweeted “Despite the constant negative press covfefe”. Assuming he meant to type “press coverage”, one would think autocorrect would’ve stopped him from sending out a typo. Or that he would notice immediately after sending it out that he spelled it wrong. Or that one of his staffers would notice it and tell him to take it down. Or that it’s not even a complete sentence. Any of the above. But nope. It stayed up for hours. To give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he’s just really exhausted and stressed out and gaining weight and can’t think straight. But on the other hand, it could be the bots. Maybe HE is a bot.

A tweet that’s immediately deleted is enough to launch a million response tweets. But the fact that he left it up for SO LONG sent Twitter into a frenzy. And thank GOD. It was like livetweeting an awards show but 10 times funnier. And since Spicey is probably just going to defend DT and somehow make “sense” of it all, let’s just bathe in the comedic aspect of it all because why not, we’re all going to die anyways. Here are just some of our fave responses to what has been described as the most “yes and” exercise ever.

*UPDATE* DT TAKES TWEET DOWN 6 HOURS LATER, MAKES A “JOKE” ABOUT IT.

BONUS: SPICEY DID EXACTLY WHAT WE THOUGHT AND MADE AN EXCUSE FOR HIS BOSS. I REALLY HOPE THAT’S APRIL RYAN YELLING, “WHAT IS COVFEFE?!??”

*******

a v specific comedy tweet:

Claiming Covfefe as a thing before anyone else:

DT has made politicians into comedians:

and Rogue NASA:

and tv shows being shady:

y’all work too quick:

give this social media manager a raise:

this type of joke is the kind that makes me laugh then when i stop laughing, i pause and then laugh again because it’s so dumb and ridiculous it’s so funny that i cry

my exact feelings on this whole kerfuffle:

And a friendly reminder before you go:

Podcast You Should Be Listening To: Pod Save America

Four former Obama staffers walk into a podcast recording studio. Then Donald Trump wins the presidential election. That’s it. That’s the joke.

We live in an era in which podcasting is in a golden age – ever since Serial, it seems like the cool thing to do now is either start a podcast (LOL I HAVE ONE LISTEN TO IT PLS) or have a never ending queue of podcasts you listen to on the regular. Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite pods that get top priority in my app – here’s the DL on literal chart topper Pod Save America.

What’s It All About

A no-bullshit conversation about politics. This is a podcast for people not yet ready to give up or go insane.

If you’re a person who is frustrated with the way this current administration is handling the state of our nation, this podcast is for you. Twice a week, these White House alums discuss U.S. politics through a progressive, liberal lens, so if you have a problem with that, this podcast is probably not for you.

The Hosts

Jon Favreau (no, not that one) is the lead host/moderator of the pod. He was the Director of Speechwriting during President Obama’s first term, and worked for Barry dating back to his days in the Senate. Unrelatedly, he dated Rashida Jones back in the day, and that’s how I first heard of him. The hot Obama speechwriter who once dated Rashida Jones.

Jon Lovett also worked alongside Favreau as a speechwriter during the Obama era, and prior to that, wrote for John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. After he left the White House, he pursued a career as a screenwriter, and together with Josh Gad and Jason Winer, they created and wrote short-lived sitcom 1600 Penn, which was truly the best show you weren’t watching and got cancelled way before it should have been. He also wrote and served as an advisor on The Newsroom, and just kicked off his own spin-off podcast, Lovett or Leave It.

Tommy Vietor worked with Obama since the Senate, and in the White House, Tommy was his spokesperson, as well as the spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council. Like Lovett, he also has a spin-off pod called Pod Save the World, which focuses on global issues and policymaking decisions.

Dan Pfeiffer was a Senior Advisor to Obama for Strategy and Communications, rounding out this fraternity of Obama bros. Dan also worked on Gore’s presidential campaign, as well as various senators throughout the years.

They’re Not N00bs

Pod Save America is actually the result of the foursome’s very successful podcast, Keepin’ it 1600, which focused on the 2016 presidential election. It was praised as one of the best podcasts of 2016, and garnered a huge fan following. Because of their success, Favs, Lovett and Tommy started their own podcast network, Crooked Media, and Pod Save America became the first podcast under their new network. Needless to say, they’re not amateur podcasters.

And They’re Not Political N00bs, Either

Because these guys have had years of experience in Washington, it’s not like they’re randos who are just giving their POVs on the week’s current events after only having read one article on Vox.com. The know their shit. In fact, it’s what makes their podcast a bit better than the rest. They’re experts who are giving us insider information on how an administration worked, how it should work, and what the current one is doing “wrong”. As someone who follows politics, but not enough to know all the intricacies of it, it’s extremely informative, but not condescending or pretentious. They’re also funny, so don’t expect a straight up news podcast, either.

The Guests Are No Joke

Keepin’ It 1600 had been on my queue for months, but I just never got around to it. So when Barack Obama sat down for his final interview as president with these guys, I obviously had to tune in. BTW, that ep is a good starting point if you need a gateway drug! Every episode features a special guest in the second half (after the hosts talk about the overall current events in the first half), and every single person so far has been impressive and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. For example, when DT first laid down a whole bunch of Executive Orders (like the travel ban), former White House lawyer Danielle Gray came on the pod to discuss the legalities of his EOs, while Obama’s former Deputy Chief of Staff and Health Care Czar Nancy-Ann DeParle discussed Trumpcare. Other guests include former chief strategist David Axelrod, another chief speechwriter, Cody Keenan, and A Closer Look’s Seth Meyers.

They Promote Activism

Sure you can listen to the podcast and feel like you’re helping to fight the cause. And you are, just by learning about what’s happening in the WH shitshow, but obviously there’s more work to be done. The hosts of the pod make it a point to share resources and encourage listeners to be active in politics and local government, whether it be which Congressman/woman to call for the Issue of the Week, or when to attend town halls to give your reps a piece of your mind. They have a list of resources on their website but you should probably just listen to the pod to get all the details.

Listen to new episodes of Pod Save America every Monday and Thursday [subscribe here]

 

Spring Memes Make Me Feel Fine: Obamacare vs. Trumpcare

On Monday, Republicans revealed their plans to replace the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, with a pile of papers called the American Health Care Act, aka Trumpcare. There are a number of controversial changes in the new act, including defunding Planned Parenthood, a complicated tax credit system, and a plan to roll back the expansion of Medicaid in three years’ time. The draft bill basically takes health coverage away from many Americans, most whom are low-income care recipients, while rich Americans would benefit.

In keeping tradition with this administration since November 8th, the draft bill is trash, and people against the AHCA obviously took to the internet to express their opposition, in the form of a Obamacare vs. Trumpcare meme that is making its rounds on the world wide web. Here are just a few faves to warm your resistance spirit.

Is that Bort?

#PinterestFail

That piece will never not be funny

TBH, didn’t even know there was another Mean Girls

Johnny Depp is always a downgrade

Unbreakable

He’ll be back (to take your health care away)

True Detective Season 3: Barack and Joe?

But if we’re talking IRL, OG Aunt Viv is definitely the crazier one.

Is that Jessica Walter??

I can’t stop laughing at this

BARRY.

Perhaps the most accurate one of them all:

Black History Spotlight #5: Alice Allison Dunnigan

All this month, we’ve been shining a spotlight on prominent black history makers. From Frederick Douglass to Marsha P. Johnson, we’ve learned a few things about Americans who helped make this country great, and hope you did too. We’re closing out the month with Alice Allison Dunnigan, a black female reporter, whose beat was politics – primarily in the White House. Read on to see what life was like for a female journalist of color back in the day.

alice-allison-dunnigan

/1/ Teen Prodigy

Alice first bit the journalism bug at age 13, when she started writing for the Owensboro Enterprise, the local paper in her home state of Kentucky. Although the extent of her contribution was only one-sentence news items, the experience left her knowing she wanted to be a reporter.

/2/ History Has Its Eyes On You

AT the time, black kids were only allowed 10 years of education, but Alice Allison decided to go further and attended Kentucky State University, where she completed a teaching course. She used her degree to become a history teacher in the Todd County School System, which was still segregated. While teaching her black kids, she noticed most of them had no idea of the contributions African-Americans had made to the state, so she made it her goal to educate them. Alice Allison then made “Kentucky Fact Sheets”, and gave them to her students as supplements to the required text in class. In 1939, the papers were collected for publication, but due to the political climate, no publisher was willing to print them. But in 1982, Associated Publishers Inc. finally took the papers to press and made the sheets into a publication called The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians: Their Heritage and Tradition. Alice Allison was a teacher in Kentucky public schools from 1924 to 1942, but because she wasn’t exactly getting paid the big bucks, she still worked small jobs in the summer, like a housekeeper and washing tombstones in the white cemetery.

/3/ A Full Time Job

But when she ended her teaching tenure in 1942, it was because she took on a call for government workers in Washington, D.C. during World War II. While she worked in her federal government job, she took night classes at Howard University,and by 1946, she was offered a job writing for the Chicago Defender newspaper as a Washington correspondent. The black-owned publication never used “negro” or “black”, but rather used the phrase “The Race” in reference to African-Americans. However, the down side to this was that the editor of the Defender was unsure of her writing abilities strictly because she was a women, she he paid her much less than her male co-workers until she could prove her worth.

/4/ HBIC

In 1947, served as a writer for the Washington bureau of the Associated Negro Press. During her time there, she sought credentials to become a member of the Senate and House of Representatives press galleries, but it didn’t come without a fight. The government denied her requests, citing the fact she wasn’t writing for a daily newspaper (a requirement for reporters covering the Capitol), but rather a weekly publication. It took six months, but she was finally granted clearance and became the bureau chief of the Associated Negro Press for the next 14 years.

/5/ White House Correspondent Years

In addition to being the first black female member of the Senate and House press galleries, she made history yet again in 1948, when she was named a White House correspondent, and again was the first black female to ever hold that title. In fact, she was only one of three African-Americans, one of two women in the press corps, and the first black woman elected to the Women’s National Press Club.

Of course, Alice Allison’s milestones didn’t come without a price. Segregation was still instituted throughout most of her time in Washington – during President Eisenhower’s eight years in office, he went from not calling on her at all to asking her for her questions beforehand (something no one else had to do). She was barred from entering some venues to cover him, and even had to sit with servants to cover Senator Taft’s funeral. When John F. Kennedy took his place in the Oval Office, he was the exact opposite and welcomed questions from Alice Allison, who was known as a hard-hitting reporter.

/6/ Working With the President

Speaking of JFK, he named her the education consultant on the President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity in 1961. In 1967, she became an associate editor with the President’s Commission on Youth Opportunity, but left in 1968 when Nixon and his Republican team took over the White House.

/7/ Back to the Books

Following her career in Washington, she decided to tell her story in an autobiography, and penned a book titled A Black Woman’s Experience: From Schoolhouse to White House, which was published in 1974. A detail not covered in her book – she received more than 50 journalism awards for her groundbreaking work.

Black History Spotlight #3: Coretta Scott King

Our Black History Month spotlight series continues today with Coretta Scott King, a prominent activist for women and African-Americans, who just so happened to also be the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr. If you’ve always known her name, but not the story behind her impressive life, read on.

/1/ Angel of Music

When Coretta Scott was in high school, she played trumpet and piano, sang in the chorus and was a frequent player in the school musicals. Basically we would’ve been BFFs with her. After graduating as the valedictorian of her class, she went to Antioch College where she studied singing. She eventually transferred out of Antioch after winning a scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where she focused on building a career in the music industry.

/2/ The Man Who Changed Her Life

While studying at NECM, a friend gave her number to Martin Luther King, Jr., who had asked his pal about any single women on campus. While Coretta originally had no interest, she eventually caved and went out on a date with him. They fell in love and on Valentine’s Day 1953, they announced their engagement in the Atlanta Daily World newspaper, because that’s what folks did in the ’50s. The tied the knot four months later on the lawn of her mother’s house, where Martin’s father officiated the ceremony. What’s interesting about their vows is that Coretta decided to remove the bit about “obeying” her husband, which was not a common thing to do at the time. She will bow down to no man.

After Coretta graduated with a degree in voice and piano, they moved to Montgomery, where Martin became pastor of a local church. Before long, he was chosen to become leader of the Montgomery bus boycott, and the movement began.

/3/ Combining Her Passions

Although her main focus became civil rights, she used her passion of music to help get their message out. She performed at concerts to with the notion to give audiences “an emotional connection to the messages of social, economic, and spiritual transformation.”

/4/Get In Formation

While she rallied behind her husband for civil rights for blacks, she wasn’t blind to the fact that the movement had become sexist, with women’s interests not being put forth in their (aka her husband’s) agenda. Martin even limited Coretta’s role out on the trail, expecting her to stay at home and take care of their four children.

“Not enough attention has been focused on the roles played by women in the struggle. By and large, men have formed the leadership in the civil rights struggle but…women have been the backbone of the whole civil rights movement.”

In January 1968, Coretta took part in a Women Strike for Peace protest in D.C., along with over 5,000 women, and she also co-chaired the Congress of Women conference.

/5/ Equality For All

Continuing to fight for equality for all, Coretta was an early supporter of the gay rights movement. In 1983, she spoke out in D.C. to urge for the amendment of the Civil Rights Act to include gays and lesbians as Protected class.

/6/ Heal the World

Coretta was an advocate for non-violent action to achieve social change, and therefore an advocate for world peace. In 1957, she was on of the co-founders of The Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy and while Martin was speaking at a major anti-Vietnam War march in 1967, Coretta was doing similar work by speaking out at a rally in San Francisco. In her later years, she even came out in oppposition of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

/7/ What is Legacy?

After Martin was assassinated, she established The King Center in 1968, dedicated to the advancement of the legacy and ideas of her husband.  Their son, Dexter Scott King, is currently the CEO and president of the center.

/8/ Nevertheless, She Persisted

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” (read Coretta’s whole letter here).

Fashion Friday: Nordstrom Steals & Deals

We’re always trying to come up with new fun topics to talk about with you guys, and today, we’re introducing a new series, Fashion Friday! Of course this concept is nothing new, but it’s new to us and we are v excited about it! Basically it’s a way for us to highlight a favorite store or brand that we’ve enjoyed as of late, and want to spread the good word to you fine folks.

For this inaugural post, we’re going to focus on one of the best department stores in the U.S. – Nordstrom! I always see great items when I go there (especially Nordstrom Rack), so here are just a few of the fantastic steals and deals you can buy online or in a store near you – you can even use this handy store locator to find one! ALSO did we mention the cafe? Because many locations have Nordstrom cafes. What’s better than finding the perfect clothes to dress like a woman and then grabbing some tacos as a reward? Nothing, really. Get a head start with our guide below!

Rebecca Taylor – Metallic Clip Midi Dress

Was: $595.00 Now: $356.98 40% off

TBH, I think I was drawn to this dress because it reminded me of the dress Alexis Bledel wore to the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life premiere. Yes, I realize I’m a crazypants for even remembering what she wore.

Want & Need – Strapless Lace Jumpsuit

Was $58.00 Now $20.30 65% Off

If there was a way to make jumpsuits that a) looked great on every body type and b) had an easier way to pee in them, I’d say jumpsuits should be a required item in everyone’s closet. This black halter jumpsuit it simple yet versatile, and can be perfectly paired with a white blazer.

Athena Alexander – ‘Layla’ Boot (Women)

Was: $109.95 Now: $59.90 45% off

I feel like Betty (Draper) Francis would wear these on the way to horseback riding lessons.

Topshop – Floral Velvet Dress

Was: $75.00 Now: $34.99 50% off

You can’t really tell, but this is velvet, which apparently is a think that’s made a comeback because ’90s. Tamagotchi not included.

Ivy Park – Mesh Panel Racerback Tank

Was $35.00 Now $16.97  52% Off

THIS IS BEYONCE’S ATHLEISURE LINE AND ON SALE GO BUY IT AND SUPPORT HER GROWING FAMILY

kate spade new york cameron street – byrdie leather crossbody bag

Was: $298.00 Now: $199.66 33% off


Kate Spade is always classy but stands out from the rest thanks to the frequent use of bright colors. This adorbs crossbody bag is no different. Perfect for a holiday in Miami or night out in New York.

Equipment – Leema Tie Neck Silk Blouse

Was: $238.00 Now: $95.20 60% off

I’m no Vogue editor, but pussy bows are totally in, right? If it’s good enough for the First Lady, it’s good enough for me.

BP. – Square Stud Earrings (Set of 2)

Was: $16.00 Now: $9.98 35% off

These are v New Year’s Eve party, no?

Adrianna Papell – Floral Matelass? Fit & Flare Dress (Regular & Petite)

Was $209.00 Now $31.35 85% Off

True story: my friend has this exact same dress and she wore it to a wedding last year and got so many compliments. It was comfortable, breathable and best part – POCKETS.

Topshop – Stripe Detail Scalloped Knit Top

Was: $75.00 Now: $34.99 50% off

Because you can never go wrong with black and white.

TOMS – Desert Lace-Up Wedge Bootie

Was $119.00 Now $59.50 50% Off

I went to Nordstrom Rack specifically to purchase classic Toms flats because of the great price, and they have a YUGE selection of not only classic flats but sandals, boots, slippers and as seen above, fashionable wedges.

Helene Berman – Studded Ears Wool Blend Cap

Was: $122.00 Now: $73.20 40% off
nordstrom

I can’t put my finger on it, but I feel like I’ve seen this hat before. (Update: yes I have).

Black History Spotlight #2: Frederick Douglass

Last week, we started our Black History Spotlight series with a brief overview on the life of teenage Civil Rights pioneer Claudette Colvin. Her name may not be as much of a household name as 13th Amendment hero Abraham Lincoln, but she’s just as important than any of our presidents. Today we’re shining a light on yet another unknown: Frederick Douglass. Here are 8 facts you need to know about one of the foremost abolitionists in American history.

F. Doug at age 29

F. Doug at age 29

/1/ 20 Years a Slave

Frederick Douglass was born a slave on a plantation in Maryland, and by the age of 7, was separated from his mother and sent to work at another plantation for the Auld family. When he was 12, his master’s wife secretly taught Frederick how to read, despite the fact it was against the law at the time. When his master found out, he forbid his wife to continue teaching him, but that only lit a fire within young Douglass. He taught himself how to read and write from the white kids in his neighborhood as well as the writings by his male co-workers. He used his new talent to teach other slaves how to read, but he also read newspapers and books about slavery, thus igniting his passion to end slavery.

After three failed attempts to escape from his plantation, Douglass finally left Maryland disguised as a free black sailor and ended up in New York City after a grueling 24 hour journey. He then married Anna Murray, a free black woman who helped him escape, and they settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

/2/ Abolish It

Douglass, now 23, quickly became a well-respected leader in the thriving free black community of New Bedford, mainly thanks to his leadership of the abolitionist movement to end slavery. It was then when he began his career as a renowned orator, speaking about his experience as a slave at local meetings, as well as the Hundred Conventions project, a tour throughout the East Coast and Midwest as a part of the American Anti-Slavery Society. However, it was his speeches that put him in danger of being captured by his former slave owners, so he fled across the pond to the U.K., where he continued to speak to people in Ireland and Britain against slavery. He spent two years in Europe telling them horrific slavery stories back in the U.S. In fact, the Brits were so moved by his story, that they raise 700 pounds to pay his master for his official freedom, officially making him a free man back at home.

/3/ Putting Pen To Paper

In 1845, he wrote his life story in an autobiography titled Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, which became a bestseller in the U.S. and even overseas (thanks Irish & Brits), and they were so popular he went on to publish two more versions of his autobiography with new details in each one.

Upon his return to America, he settled in Rochester, New York (OUR HOMETOWN!), where he started The North Star anti-slavery newspaper, focusing on current events concerning abolitionist issues. Because one periodical wasn’t enough, Douglass went all in with the newspaper business, with Frederick Douglass Weekly, Frederick Douglass’ Paper, Douglass’ Monthly and New National Era.

“Right is of no Sex – Truth is of no Color – God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren.” The North Star motto

/4/ A Groundbreaking Feminist

Frederick was a staunch supporter of females during the women’s sufferage movement, and when the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, NY went down in 1948, he was the ONLY African-American to attend. It was at the convention that he spoke in favor of the assembly passing a resolution for women’s suffrage, saying he could not accept the right to vote as a black man if women could not also have the right to vote. His speech made such an impact that the resolution was ultimately passed.

/5/ Fought for Black Soldiers’ Right To Fight

By the time the Civil War started, Douglass was one of the most popular black men in the U.S. and he used his visibility to fight for African-Americans to fight in the war, on the basis that the aim of the Civil war was the end slavery. He even met with President Lincoln a few times after the South boasted they would execute or enslave any captured black soldiers. Due to Douglass’ persistence, Lincoln warned the Confederacy that for every Union soldier killed, he would execute a rebel soldier.

Nearly a decade after Lincoln’s death, Douglass spoke about the president’s legacy during the opening of the Emancipation Memorial in Washington’s Lincoln Park. While he called out Lincoln’s hesitance to speak out against slavery from the get-go, he also acknowledged he was ultimately a supporter of the anti-slavery cause.

“Though Mr. Lincoln shared the prejudices of his white fellow-countrymen against the Negro, it is hardly necessary to say that in his heart of hearts he loathed and hated slavery….”

As a token of her appreciation, Mary Todd Lincoln gave Douglass the president’s favorite walking stick, which sits in Douglass’ final residence.

/6/ First African-American to be nominated for Vice President

In 1872, he was put on the Equal Rights Party ticket as Victoria Woodhull’s running mate. One problem – he had no idea he was nominated and he didn’t even campaign for it. As we know (or maybe not), they did not take the presidency.

/7/ Look at this photograph

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Frederick Douglass with the most photographed American of the 19th Century, and stealthily made sure of it in an effort to advance his political views. He rarely smiled in his photographs, sending a message that he was not indulging in the racist stereotype of being a happy slave, and often looked into the lens with a stern look.

/8/ Rest In Peace

While there may be alternative facts swirling around out there, Mr. Douglass unfortunately passed away from a heart attack at his home in Washington a mere 122 years ago. He is buried in Rochester’s Mount Hope Cemetery, where people continue to pay their respects to this great man (check out video of a reporter from our local newspaper visiting Douglass last week). RIP.