The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Culture Corner:
My Soul Is Rested & Becoming Frederick Douglass

Jan 29, 2024

Book: My Soul Is Rested: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement in the Deep South, compiled by Howell Raines, 1983.

This book is a compilation of oral histories and interviews with basic background information of over 100 people who took part in the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Some are well known, some are not. Some were workers, some well-to-do. Some were students, religious, and not religious, old and young—all have incredible stories to tell. The author lets them tell it in their own words. It’s a very powerful and moving set of histories.

Film: Becoming Frederick Douglass, a 2022 PBS documentary also streaming on YouTube

This roughly one-hour documentary gives the highlights of his life and shows how events formed him to become the revolutionary that he was. He was born a slave, saw reading for slaves was illegal, so he taught himself to read. He had opportunities others did not have, and he realized he had to use them to help his fellow man. He escaped to the north. He became an eloquent speaker, and he traveled from city to city to raise his voice against injustice. He founded his own newspaper. The film quotes from one of his most famous speeches on the Fourth of July: “Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us…. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn." He penned books and pamphlets whose words still resonate today.