Abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass was born into slavery sometime around in Talbot County, Maryland. As was often the case with slaves, the exact year and date of Douglass' birth are unknown, though later in life he chose to celebrate it on February Douglass initially lived with his maternal grandmother, Betty Bailey.
At a young age, Douglass was selected to live in the home of the plantation owners, one of whom may have been his father. When Auld forbade his wife to offer more lessons, Douglass continued to learn from white children and others in the neighborhood.
He read newspapers avidly and sought out political writing and literature as much as possible. In later years, Douglass credited The Columbian Orator with clarifying and defining his views on human rights. Douglass shared his newfound knowledge with other enslaved people.
Hired out to William Freeland, he taught other slaves on the plantation to read the New Testament at a weekly church service. Interest was so great that in any week, more than 40 slaves would attend lessons.
Although Freeland did not interfere with the lessons, other local slave owners were less understanding. Armed with clubs and stones, they dispersed the congregation permanently. With Douglass moving between the Aulds, he was later made to work for Edward Covey, who had a reputation as a "slave-breaker.
Eventually, however, Douglass fought back, in a scene rendered powerfully in his first autobiography. After losing a physical confrontation with Douglass, Covey never beat him again.
Douglass tried to escape from slavery twice before he finally succeeded. Douglass married Anna Murray, a free Black woman, on September 15, Douglass had fallen in love with Murray, who assisted him in his final attempt to escape slavery in Baltimore. Murray had provided him with some of her savings and a sailor's uniform. He carried identification papers obtained from a free Black seaman. Douglass made his way to the safe house of abolitionist David Ruggles in New York in less than 24 hours.
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Anna and Frederick then settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts, which had a thriving free Black community. There they adopted Douglass as their married name. Charles and Rosetta assisted their father in the production of his newspaper The North Star. Anna remained a loyal supporter of Douglass' public work, despite marital strife caused by his relationships with several other women. Pitts was the daughter of Gideon Pitts Jr. Their marriage caused considerable controversy, since Pitts was white and nearly 20 years younger than Douglass.
Nonetheless, Douglass and Pitts remained married until his death 11 years later. After settling as a free man with his wife Anna in New Bedford inDouglass was eventually asked to tell his story at abolitionist meetings, and he became a regular anti-slavery lecturer.
Several days after the story ran, Douglass delivered his first speech at the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society's annual convention in Nantucket. Crowds were not always hospitable to Douglass.
While participating in an lecture tour through the Midwest, Douglass was chased and beaten by an angry mob before being rescued by a local Quaker family. Following the publication of his first autobiography inDouglass traveled overseas to evade recapture.
He set sail for Liverpool on August 16,and eventually arrived in Ireland as the Potato Famine was beginning. He remained in Ireland and Britain for two years, speaking to large crowds on the evils of slavery.
Inthe famed writer and orator returned to the United States a free man. In New Bedford, Massachusetts, Douglass ed a Black church and regularly attended abolitionist meetings. He also subscribed to Garrison's The Liberator. At the urging of Garrison, Douglass wrote and published his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slavein The book was a bestseller in the United States and was translated into several European languages.
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Although the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass garnered Douglass many fans, some critics expressed doubt that a former enslaved person with no formal education could have produced such elegant prose. Douglass published three versions of his autobiography during his lifetime, revising and expanding on his work each time.
My Bondage and My Freedom appeared in Inhe was the only African American to attend the Seneca Falls convention on women's rights. Elizabeth Cady Stanton asked the assembly to pass a resolution stating the goal of women's suffrage.
Many attendees opposed the idea. Douglass, however, stood and spoke eloquently in favor, arguing that he could not accept the right to vote as a Black man if women could not also claim that right. The resolution passed. By the time of the Civil WarDouglass was one of the most famous Black men in the country.
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He used his status to influence the role of African Americans in the war and their status in the country. InDouglass conferred with President Abraham Lincoln regarding the treatment of Black soldiers, and later with President Andrew Johnson on the subject of Black suffrage.
President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamationwhich took effect on January 1,declared the freedom of enslaved people in Confederate territory. Despite this victory, Douglass supported John C. Slavery everywhere in the United States was subsequently outlawed by the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U. Douglass was appointed to several political positions following the war. After two years, he reed from his ambassadorship over objections to the particulars of U.
He was later appointed minister-resident and consul-general to the Republic of Haiti, a post he held between and InDouglass visited one of his former owners, Thomas Auld. Douglass had met with Auld's daughter, Amanda Auld Sears, years before.
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The visit held personal ificance for Douglass, although some criticized him for the reconciliation. Douglass became the first African American nominated for vice president of the United States as Victoria Woodhull 's running mate on the Equal Rights Party ticket in Nominated without his knowledge or consent, Douglass never campaigned. Nonetheless, his nomination marked the first time that an African American appeared on a presidential ballot.
Douglass died on February 20,of a massive heart attack or stroke shortly after returning from a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, D. We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, ! Subscribe to the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives. Frederick Jones was an inventor best known for the development of refrigeration equipment used to transport food and blood during World War II. Abolitionist and women's rights activist Sojourner Truth is best known for her speech on racial inequalities, "Ain't I a Woman?
Harriet Tubman escaped slavery to become a leading abolitionist.
Who was frederick douglass?
She led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom along the route of the Underground Railroad. Abolitionist Martin Robison Delany was both a physician and newspaper editor and became one of the most influential and successful anti-slavery activists of the 19th century. Lucy Stone was a leading activist and pioneer of the abolitionist and women's rights movements.
One of the "Big Six" leaders of the civil rights movement in the s, John Lewis continued to fight for people's rights since ing Congress in Susan B. Anthony was a suffragist, abolitionist, author and speaker who was the president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. John Brown was a 19th-century militant abolitionist known for his raid on Harpers Ferry in Dick Gregory was a pioneering comedian and civil rights activist who took on race with layered, nuanced humor during the turbulent s.