54th Massachusetts Regiment

Lewis Douglass

In 1863, Douglass began work recruiting soldiers for the all black 54th Massachusetts Regiment.  He traveled throughout the North, searching for young men to join the cause.  Among his first recruits were both of his sons, Charles and Lewis Douglass.  In “Men of Color, to Arms!  A Call by Frederick Douglass,” Douglass voices how strongly he felt of the importance of African American participation in the civil war.  He writes how “Liberty won by white men would lack half its lustre.  Who would be free themselves must strike the blow.”  However, finding men willing to fight for the cause became increasingly difficult.  Douglass became weary, knowing that these men would be subject to lower pay and less provisions than the white soldiers.  In August of the same year, he resigned from the job.

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