Frederick Douglas Tea Towel

Frederick Douglas Tea Towel

Regular price$18.00

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Frederick Douglas Tea Towel

What I ask for the Negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice.

How does a slave born on a plantation in deeply racist 19th century America go on to be nominated for vice-president of the United States? Just ask Frederick Douglass.

Douglass led an extraordinary life, all the way through. Despite laws forbidding it, he was taught the alphabet as a child, knowledge he passed onto other slaves as a teenager. Aged 20, he escaped slavery, fleeing to the North, where he fiercely campaigned for the rights of African-Americans, women, and native Americans, eventually becoming a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York. With 160 separate portraits taken of him, Douglass became the 19thcentury’s most photographed American, a platform which he called ‘democratic art’ that could finally represent black people as humans. He also became a well-known orator, and was invited to speak at a 4th of July celebration in 1852 in New York. There he delivered a powerful critique of American hypocrisy, entitled ‘What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?’ 'This Fourth July is yours, not mine,' he famously said to those in attendance, and subsequently refused to celebrate the holiday until all slaves were emancipated.

NB: Until the late 1960s, the term 'negro' was used by those both within and outside the community for people of black African origin (Martin Luther King used the term, for example). Although use of the word may now seem dated or even offensive, it should be seen here in its historical context.

Fabric Details

Half Panama unbleached cotton (heavy weight, textured finish). Special inks so colours last in the wash. Stitched on all four sides. Includes hanging loop. Measures approximately 48cm x 70cm.

Machine wash at 40 degrees max. We recommend that before you use your tea towel for the first time you wash it at least once to soften up the material and make it more absorbent for drying dishes. Please note size can vary slightly.

Why it's on The Cornrow?

The Radical Tea Towel company was a great find. They are a company on a mission to promote and celebrate radical and inclusive values and we are all here for it!

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The Radical Tea Towel Company

Bea, Tim, and Luke, the founders of The Radical Tea Towel, were inspired by Bea's mother, Pat, who was a radical. Pat was a socialist, a feminist, and a peace campaigner, known for her unwavering loyalty as a mother and grandmother. She lived her values, speaking her mind with politeness and engaging with people from all walks of life. When Pat passed away in 2010, Bea wanted to find a meaningful gift for her partner, David, who shared her mother's politics. Unable to find a political tea towel online, Bea, Tim, and Luke decided to start their own company.

Despite their lack of business experience, they believed that there were others who wanted to give gifts that carried a message, made people think, and offered hope. They designed their own tea towels and had them manufactured in the UK with ethical partners. The response was overwhelming, with customers sharing their designs and blogs on social media, spreading the message of radical history. As they continue to grow their small business, they are proud to educate others about the origins of rights and freedoms.

Though Pat and David would likely tease them for participating in 21st-century social media capitalism, Bea and her family hope they would also be proud of their efforts. With gratitude for the support they've received, they continue to promote their vision of a more progressive and enlightened world through The Radical Tea Towel.

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