Journal Entry 

 Thursday, November 9, 2023: The Resilience of Frederick Douglass 

Michael Santos

Michael Santos

Subject: The Resilience of Frederick Douglass

In the vast tapestry of human history, few stories shine as brightly as those of individuals who rise from the depths of adversity to illuminate the path for others. Such tales not only inspire but also teach us the true essence of resilience and the power of unwavering determination. One such story is that of Frederick Douglass. His story helps to hope and transformation for countless souls, including those who find themselves confined behind prison walls.

Many of us, while serving time, grapple with feelings of despair, hopelessness, and a sense of being trapped in our circumstances. It’s easy to become consumed by the immediate challenges and lose sight of the broader horizon. However, the life of Frederick Douglass serves as a poignant reminder that our current situation does not define our potential or our future.

Born into the chains of slavery, Douglass faced unimaginable hardships from his earliest days. Yet, instead of succumbing to the oppressive system that sought to break his spirit, he chose to rise. He taught himself to read and write, understanding that knowledge was the key to breaking free from both mental and physical bondage. His thirst for knowledge and his determination to share it with others made him a formidable force against the institution of slavery.

When I was locked in SHU at the start of my prison journey, an officer handed me a biography detailing the life of Frederick Douglass. As I delved into the pages, what I read about Douglass’s journey moved and inspired me. It wasn’t just his escape from slavery or his subsequent achievements as an orator, writer, and statesman that inspired me. It was his unwavering focus on what he could become, rather than where he was, that resonated deeply.

Douglass’s life teaches us that no matter the depth of our struggles, we have the power to shape our destiny. By focusing on making the world a better place and seeking personal growth, we can rise above any crisis. Complaining about our current situation or dwelling on the past will not propel us forward. Instead, we must channel our energies into constructive actions that pave the way for a brighter future.

For those of us who have faced or are facing incarceration, Douglass’s story serves as a testament to the human spirit’s indomitable will. It reminds us that with resilience, determination, and a vision for a better tomorrow, we can overcome any challenge.

Your Challenge:

Reflect on the life of Frederick Douglass and identify moments in your own journey where you’ve shown resilience. How can you apply the lessons from Douglass’s life to your current situation? Write down your reflections and share them with others, fostering a community of growth and mutual support.

Consider sharing your insights and personal growth journey on Prison Professors Talent. Let your story inspire others, just as Frederick Douglass’s story has inspired many. To participate and build your profile, send an email to [email protected].

In the words of our course, “Preparing for Success after Prison,” remember that every challenge you face today is an opportunity for growth tomorrow. Like Frederick Douglass, let us focus on the potential within us and the impact we can make in the world. It’s never too late, and it’s never too early to start sowing seeds for a better life.

Michael Santos,

founder of Prison Professors Talent