Born into slavery in 1818, abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass emerged among the most influential and forward-thinking leaders of his time.
In 1869, Douglass delivered his “Composite Nation” speech to a crowd in Boston, condemning anti-Asian discrimination and calling for all races to enjoy equal rights – a radical political position at the time.
Douglass argued that immigration made the country stronger, underscoring: “We shall spread the network of our science and civilization over all who seek their shelter whether from Asia, Africa, or the Isles of the sea. We shall mold them all, each after his kind, into Americans …”
– Hannah Van Sickle, The Boston 100