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Modern abolitionist Ken Morris.  Photo: courtesy of Frederick Douglass Family Foundation
Modern abolitionist Ken Morris. Photo: courtesy of Frederick Douglass Family Foundation

Preview: Freedom Then, Freedom Now: The Long History of Emancipation

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Frederick Douglass' great-great-great grandson will be the one of the speakers at this weekend's "Freedom Then, Freedom Now: The Long History of Emancipation" event in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. The Friday/Saturday program for students, teachers and the public celebrates the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Presented by John Brown Lives! and North Country Community College, the event will feature a film, lectures, a new portrait of abolitionist John Brown and music.

Todd Moe spoke with Ken Morris, founder and president of the Frederick Douglas Family Foundation, a service learning organization that works to create a modern abolitionist movement in schools across the country. Morris is also the great-great grandson of Booker T. Washington.

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Todd Moe
Morning Host and Producer

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“I would like to think that if I lived during that time, I would be a Frederick Douglass, you know, I would be a Booker T. Washington,” Morris said. But there is no way to know. However, Morris does feel that he has the ability to make a difference in today’s age.

“Each and every one of us descends from somebody that made a difference in this great country of ours. That sacrificed so much, and may have even given up their lives, just so that we can have the freedoms...” Morris said that history lives in all of us, and the future depends on how we carry that forward.

Washington and Douglass overcame great obstacles to struggle against slavery. Morris hopes to inspire audience members to do the same in their lives. He is optimistic that he will see progress in his lifetime, and that slavery could be fully abolished as well. Morris has seen awareness about the continuation of human trafficking rise over the last four years, and believes steps are being taken in the right direction.

Morris’ favorite quote from Douglas is, “It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” By going into schools to talk to young children about their choices pertaining to their future, and involving them in service projects in their communities, it empowers them, too.

For more information on speakers and events visit John Brown Lives.

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