Frederick Douglass Descendant Speaks to Rocky Fork Middle

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In Rocky Fork’s library one of Frederick Douglass’ quotes sits above where students check out books every single day — “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

Last week, Kevin Greene — great-great-grandson of Douglass — sat right beneath the quote and spoke about the legacy left by Douglass.

“Going into schools and talking about Douglass is definitely my favorite place to share what I have learned,” Greene said. “Being able to converse with students about Douglass is very rewarding for me.”

Rocky Fork allowed a few select eighth-graders to sit in on an interview with Greene before he spoke to the entire grade in the school’s auditorium.

Greene talked about how Douglass defied the odds as a slave to become educated.

“I have loved learning about Douglass’ education,” Greene said. “The process of Douglass becoming educated was very, very important.”

When asked about when he discovered he was related to Douglass, Greene said he understood what it meant in sixth grade, but he was 30years old before he understood the weight of it.

“That’s really when the lightbulb went off,” Greene said. “It really took me some time to understand what it meant to be a descendant of Douglass.”

Greene is always overjoyed at the opportunity to speak to students about Douglass and his experience of learning about him.

“I’m not an historian,” Greene said, adding, “I have been able to share what I have learned, stories I have heard and talk about the things that I feel are important.”

By BARTON HENLEY, Rutherford County Schools