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The Power of One: The One Million Abolitionist Project in Baltimore

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Kenneth B. Morris, Jr.: The Power of One: The One Million Abolitionists Project Comes to Baltimore
10am-12pm, McGuire Hall
Sponsored by: The English Department, The Center for the Humanities, CCSJ, Messina
A Messina Stories We Tell and Common Text Event

About the Event:

We know that slavery exists today in various forms throughout the world. It’s estimated that more than 20 million people live in a state of servitude. Right now there are women being forced into prostitution, children working in factories for little or no wage, and men being sold or traded like cattle. The state-sponsored slavery Frederick Douglass sought to abolish differs only slightly from today’s black-market slavery in that one was done in the light of day and the other in shadows. Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., the great-great-great-grandson of Frederick Douglass and great-great-grandson of Booker T. Washington, will be speaking on the legacy of Douglass and the need to be "abolitionists" for human rights today. Mr. Morris has said, "As direct descendants of Frederick Douglass, we believe we have an obligation to repeat his demand for the right of all men to be free from bondage."  

At the talk, we’ll distribute copies of a very special bicentennial edition of Douglass's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, which includes a forward by Bryan Stevenson, the author of the 2018 Common text, Just Mercy. After his talk, Mr. Morris will sign copies of the edition for students who will also have a chance to meet and discuss the talk in small groups with local middle and high school students.

This event includes free lunch.

Resources for Attendees:

Information about the One Million Abolitionists Project

Information on the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives

About the Speaker:

Mr. Morris descends from two of the most important names in American history: Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington. Ken continues his family’s legacy of anti-slavery and educational work as co-founder and president of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI). He strongly believes, as did Douglass and Washington, that education is the pathway to freedom. His career and life path are driven by a clear focus on FDFI’s mission “[t]o Advance Freedom through Knowledge and Strategic Action.” In celebration of the Bicentennial of Douglass’ birth, FDFI began the One Million Abolitionists project, which is distributing one million copies of a special Bicentennial edition of Frederick Douglass’s first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, to young people across the country, inspiring them to create service-learning projects that advance freedom. This is the edition being given out at this event.

Awards and Honors: 

  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, University of La Verne in California 
  • “Frederick Douglass Underground Railroad Legacy Award,” National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom
  • “Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism,” Women’s E-News 21 Leaders for the 21st Century
  • “Anne Frank Change the World Award,” Wassmuth Center for Human Rights 
  • “Legacy Keeper Award” National Association of African American Honors Programs 
  • Ambassador, Human Rights First 
  • Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission.
  • B.A. in Religion, Ecumenical Center for Black Church Studies, University of La Verne


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