By: Stacy Swimp
When Frederick Douglass first escaped from slavery, his first mentor was William Lloyd Garrison. Garrison helped to launch the public speaking career of Douglass, playing a significant role in Douglass going to Ireland and Britain.
It could be said that Garrison was responsible for helping to lay the foundation for which Frederick Douglass would one day stand upon as the greatest leader of his generation.
However, while overseas, Frederick Douglass met Daniel O’Connell,, an Irish political leader who had campaigned for Catholic Emancipation.
O’Connell radically impacted and changed Frederick Douglass’ views on government and the constitution.
Garrison felt the constitution was a pro slavery document. He also was known to burn the U.S. Flag.
When Douglass returned to the U.S. from his trip in Ireland and Britain, he was new man, now understanding that the Constitution was pro freedom! Unfortunately, his “mentor” Garrison was not accepting or supportive of Douglass’ growth. Many say he was fiercely jealous of it, in fact.
Garrison would become Douglass’ harshest critic, spending the rest of his life maligning and slandering the name of Frederick Douglass.
He didn’t understand that Douglass simply grew intellectually and spiritually, adapting new awareness and new critiques. It was not “anti Garrison’. It was a Pro American.
THE VALUABLE LESSONS OF HISTORY:
How many of us have people who impacted our lives during a pivotal stage, who later turned on us because we did not continue with them or in the way they wanted us to go?
Perhaps they felt you were ungrateful because they helped you when you were down and now they hold it over your head. Loyalty by compulsion.
It was a profound lesson for Douglass. It is a great lesson for us today.
First, never let anyone make you feel bad about the growth and advancement that God gives you that takes you in a new direction.
Second, always be thankful for that first mentor, teacher or whoever made positive impact on you. However, not to the extent where obligation makes you a slave to guilt and fear of moving on to where God is calling you, that might be beyond where that person can lead or teach you.
“So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”- I Corinthians 3:7