Voices of Freedom “Capture the American civil rights movement in the voices of those who were there, and thereby give … some idea of the raging torrents that had engulfed America in the fifties, sixties, and seventies and that came to be known as the civil rights and black consciousness movements.” These were the words of Henry Hampton, describing the purpose of the book The Voices of Freedom.
The book has been able to capture the scope of the major themes in the struggle for freedom experienced by various people from different places all over the world. These topics include the fight against slavery, the struggles against racism, the issues brought about by globalization and themes in the new century, post September 11th, 2001. The book brings to life the various architects, movers and shakers of civilizations from the 1700’s to the year 2009. It provides biographies and a brief historical context of the period in which an interview with the historical figure happened. The following is an analysis of three of the main points of this book and a brief focus on Fredrick Douglas.
The first theme that is predominant throughout the book is that of human rights. From the first chapter on, Adam Smith and the results of colonization on the societies present in the new world to the last chapter on September 11 and the next American century we find the theme of the struggle to be heard. The importance for the establishment of freedom with respect to human rights.
This has been established as the main reason leading to most conflicts especially when one group feels its rights and freedoms are not upheld. This leads to civil unrest such as the ones advocated for by the African Americans in the 1950s and 60s and highlighted by sensational leaders such as Fredrick Douglas, Martin Luther, and Malcolm X.
The second theme is that of freedom. This theme is as relevant as that of human rights in that they both co-exist in a political social and economic set up of any society. In this book, it has ties with all other themes as it cuts across all of them. The concept of freedom and liberation is what drives all of them. Good examples of this, is the way it is visible in the establishment of a new nation in chapter 7, democracy in America in chapter 11 and chapters 14 and 15 which deal with the civil war and Reconstruction respectively (Bliss 63).
The last -but not the least- point of our focus is slavery. Slavery is a theme that dominated over all the class struggles in the United States and the world over many centuries this led to uprising that demanded the observation of equal rights and freedoms to all races. This demand was led by organizations as well as individuals in a society. In America, we can see this struggle through such monumental figures as Martin Luther King and Fredrick Douglas.
Fredrick Douglas was a born slave who later on became a pioneer writer and advocator for equal rights and against slavery. He overcame various personal struggles to achieve his goal.
One can conclude that there is a great need for debate and understanding of the needs and themes that affect all major societies, especially in this day and age through literature such as voices of freedom this debate that started two centuries ago has not ended, merely changed, and will not stop until the fundamental principles are reached in our societies.
Bliss, Bill. Voices of Freedom. White Plains, New York: Pearson Education, 2010. Print.