Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., the great-great-great grandson of celebrated abolitionist Frederick Douglas responded Wednesday to Trump’s odd reference to his famous ancestor during an African-American History Month listening session at the White House. Trump said Douglass is an example of someone who has done an amazing job and is “being recognized more and more,” he noted. Douglass has been dead for 122 years and noticed for even longer. Even Press Secretary Sean Spicer fumbled with trying to clarify Trump’s present tense, challenged acknowledgments.

Spicer feebly explained that the president was highlighting the contributions Douglass made and thinks the contributions “will become more and more.”

The family of frederick douglass released a statement Wednesday which read, in part, that Trump’s comments were noted and appreciated, but if he had the time to elaborate he could have mentioned a few things such as:

  • Even though Douglass had to endure the inhumanity of slavery, he still managed to become a force of liberty when America needed it.
  • The statesman taught himself how to read and write and went on to become one of the nation’s most eloquent spokespersons.
  • Douglass was able to persuade President Abraham Lincoln that all men were created equal and deserved the right to live free.

A past revisited

Ironically, Frederick Douglass, who understood racism was part of a diseased imagination, argued against unfair immigration restrictions, something Donald Trump is facing now with millions of people around the world.

Kenneth B. Morris Jr. said he was shocked by Trump’s remarks and initially wanted to go on the attack, but decided against it. Morris added that he does believe the president truly wants to bridge the racial divide, and that he should ditch the campaign rhetoric that opened old wounds which had been lying dormant. Morris, who serves as the President of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, also said unification occurs with the words you use.

Black history, from a maternal and paternal perspective

Kenneth Morris has an impressive family tree. His grandmother, Nettie Hancock Washington, was the granddaughter of Booker T. Washington and the wife of Dr. Frederick Douglass III (great grandson of Frederick Douglass).