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Friends For Freedom: The Story of Susan B. Anthony & Frederick Douglass by Susan Slade and Nicole Tadgall

by | Mar 23, 2022 | Biographies | 0 comments

Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass – a Dynamic Duo

This was one of the most popular books I have ever borrowed from the library. The particular book we borrowed had a “read to me” option and I heard it play dozens of times after I turned out the lights in the boys’ room. Friends For Freedom by Susan Slade and Nicole Tadgall is a simple biography of sorts, though it would be more accurate to call it a biography of a friendship. It gives a brief background of both Susan and Frederick, what parts of society they came from, and how they met (Susan wanted to meet Frederick and so she showed up on his doorstep one day). 

Once the two became close friends, the author detailed society’s reaction to a friendship between an educated white woman and a freed black man and how it was less than welcoming. The authors specifically list how the pair were followed by rioters, lied about in the papers, and had things thrown at them (including rotten eggs). The Douglass’ family house was burned down by white supremacists. We also learned about how they continued their fight even in the midst of being treated so badly. 

Themes 

One of my personal favorite parts of the book was when Susan and Frederick fought in public about their differing opinions regarding the passage of Fifteenth Amendment, where black men were able to vote but women were still not allowed. I was happy to see that the authors included a part in the friendship where it wasn’t perfect, and the pair were able to work through it together. 

The second strong theme was the bonds of true friendship, despite literally thousands of people being upset about it, and how that bond gave them the strength to keep fighting for what they believed in. The description on Amazon says “their friendship changed a nation,” and it is truly inspirational to think about how a friendship can hold so much power. 

Conversations

 My oldest (seven-years-old) was violently offended by the idea that it didn’t used to be acceptable that men were friends with women, or that interracial friendships were not accepted. He began to list his friends with different color skin, and it gave us a great opportunity to talk about old ideas and changing our ways of thinking when we notice that an idea or a pattern is wrong. 

 

Age Level

It’s written for early elementary age, but my preschooler listened intently as well. 

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