Jack Knocke, 2-6-23
Nassau County Chapter of County Citizens Defending Freedom sponsored the proclamation.
On February 7, in the Chambers of the Fernandina Beach City Commission, a slave who rose to the status of statesman was honored posthumously by designating February 14th as Frederick Douglass Day.
Present to accept the proclamation was its sponsor, Jack Knocke, Executive Director of CCDF – Nassau County, and the organization’s Faith Team Leader, Linda Palin. Also accepting was Wendell McGahee, a Flagler College Administrator and Henry Greene, Executive Director and Founder of The Grace and Gratitude Sober Living organization (Mr. Greene couldn’t make it, so he sent an administrator to accept it).
The Proclamation (attached) includes many but not all of Douglass’ achievements. One such clause of the proclamation stated,
WHEREAS, Mr. Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in February 1818, although he never knew his birthdate, he chose to celebrate every year on February 14th. His early life was torturous and harrowing. At a young age, Frederick realized literacy could lead to freedom. Because slave children were not permitted to attend school, Frederick taught himself to read and write.
Mr. Knocke explained why County Citizens Defending Freedom, Nassau County Chapter sponsored the Proclamation, “Our new organization here in Nassau County is all about fighting for the freedoms guaranteed by our constitution. No one can better epitomize being a freedom fighter than Frederick Douglass. Mr. Douglass’ story from slave to being the first black man nominated for president in the Republican Convention in Chicago in 1888 is an astounding achievement all Americans can celebrate. And that is what we aim to do: to reach across the cultural lines of our community and do our best to be a unifying catalyst in Nassau County.”
Executive Director Knocke adds, “I am so grateful to community leaders, Mr. McGhee and Mr. Greene, for joining me in this very public expression of civil cooperation celebrating freedom. I also salute Mayor Bean and the Commission for getting behind this proclamation. Carolyn Best, the City Clerk, was particularly helpful in the wording and scheduling of this event.”
Mrs. Palin, the Faith Leader for CCDF-Nassau, adds, “As a Christ-centered, citizen-driven organization, we felt it was important to showcase how Mr. Douglass’ faith helped him overcome great odds, stare down the ungodly policies of the day, and do so in a biblically-guided manner. His example and teachings gave us at CCDF-Nassau a message that allows us to reach across the aisle and connect with the faithful within the minority community by being centered in Christ and guided by biblical teachings all through the example of an extraordinary black man.”
CCDF-Nassau plans to share the proclamation community-wide and celebrate Frederick Douglass Day with an event where the public is invited. Details to be posted on its website and Facebook page.