Welcome to week #2 of “Quotable Discussions”, where we talk about the importance and relevance of reading in today’s society in the context of quotes from well-known folks!
Today’s quote comes to us from Frederick Douglass (circa 1818 - 1895), an escaped slave who went on to lead the abolitionist movement. Born into slavery, he secretly learned to read by watching the white children with whom he had contact and by observing the writings of the men with whom he worked. Having known no other life except slavery, he accepted it without question. Until he learned to read. His exposure to newspapers and political materials armed him with the knowledge that freedom and basic human rights could not exist within the boundaries of slavery.
"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free."
~ Frederick Douglass
When you learn to read well, and more importantly, CHOOSE to read, you empower yourself. Whether you read books, magazines, newspapers, academic texts, or some of everything, reading gives you knowledge, and knowledge gives you power. For me, this manifests itself in an attitude I’ve developed over the last several years. And the attitude is this: “If there’s something I want to know about, I WILL learn about it.” There are lots of things I don’t know about, but I can read, so I can learn. I can buy a cookbook and learn to prepare new cuisine. I can read a magazine or newspaper and learn about the new health care legislation or the efforts to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf. I can order a travel book and road atlas and plan a vacation to a foreign country. I can read a fiction book about scuba diving and learn about the equipment necessary. And the list could go on and on and on and on. There is nothing I can’t learn, because I can read.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Mr. Douglass’s quote.