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Frederick Douglass
Born c. 1818
Talbot County, Maryland, United States
Died February 20, 1895 (aged about 78)
Washington, D.C., United States
Occupation Abolitionist, author, editor, diplomat
Spouse(s) Anna Murray (c. 1839)
Helen Pitts (1884)
Children Charles Remond Douglass
Rosetta Douglass
Lewis Henry Douglass
Frederick Douglass Jr.
Annie Douglass (died at 10)
Parents Harriet Bailey and perhaps Aaron Anthony
Signature

Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, circa 1818 – February 20, 1895) was born into slavery and is best known for his role in bringing the harsh realities of slavery to the attention of white Americans, at the same time being a living example of the fallacy of claims that black Americans were intellectually inferior to whites. He was an American abolitionist, women's suffragist, editor, orator, author, statesman and reformer. Called "The Sage of Anacostia" and "The Lion of Anacostia", Douglass is one of the most prominent figures in African American and United States history.

He was a firm believer in the equality of all people, whether black, female, Native American, or recent immigrant. He was fond of saying, "I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong."

Contents

Life as a slave

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Opposition and resistance

Timeline · Abolitionism · Compensated emancipation · Opponents of slavery‎ · Slave rebellion · Slave narrative

Frederick Douglass began his own story thus: "I was born in Tuckahoe, near Hillsborough, and about twelve miles from Easton, in Talbot county, Maryland."[1]. Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, who later became known as Frederick Douglass, was born a slave in Talbot County, Maryland, between Hillsboro and Cordova, in a shack east of Tappers Corner and west of Tuckahoe Creek.[2] He was separated from his mother, Harriet Bailey, when he was still an infant. She died when Douglass was about seven and Douglass lived with his maternal grandmother Betty Bailey. His mother's ancestors likely had Native American heritage.

The identity of his father is obscure. Douglass originally stated that he was told his father was a white man, perhaps his owner Aaron Anthony. Later he said he knew nothing of his father's identity. At age seven, Douglass was separated from his grandmother and moved to the Wye House plantation, where Anthony worked as overseer.[3] When Anthony died, Douglass was given to Lucretia Auld, wife of Thomas Auld. She sent Douglass to serve Thomas' brother Hugh Auld in Baltimore.

When Douglass was about twelve, Hugh Auld's wife Sophia started teaching him the alphabet. She was breaking the law against teaching slaves to read. When Hugh Auld discovered this, he strongly disapproved, saying that if a slave learned to read, he would become dissatisfied with his condition and desire freedom. Douglass later referred to this statement as the "first decidedly antislavery lecture" he had ever heard.[4] As detailed in his autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845), Douglass succeeded in learning to read from white children in the neighborhood and by observing the writings of men with whom he worked.

As Douglass learned and began to read newspapers, political materials, and books of every description, he was exposed to a new realm of thought that led him to question and then condemn the institution of slavery. In later years, Douglass credited The Columbian Orator, which he discovered at about age twelve, with clarifying and defining his views on freedom and human rights.

When Douglass was hired out to William Freeland, he taught other slaves on the plantation how to read the New Testament at a weekly Sunday school. As word spread, the interest among slaves in learning to read was so great that in any week more than 40 slaves would attend lessons. For about six months, their study went relatively unnoticed. While Freeland was complacent about their activities, other plantation owners became incensed that their slaves were being educated. One Sunday they burst in on the gathering, armed with clubs and stones to disperse the congregation permanently.

In 1833, Thomas Auld took Douglass back from Hugh after a dispute ("[A]s a means of punishing Hugh," Douglass wrote). Dissatisfied with Douglass, Thomas Auld then sent him to work for Edward Covey, a poor farmer who had a reputation as a "slave-breaker." There Douglass was whipped regularly. The sixteen-year-old Douglass was indeed nearly broken psychologically by his ordeal under Covey, but he finally rebelled against the beatings and fought back. After losing a confrontation with Douglass, Covey never tried to beat him again.

In 1837, Douglass met Anna Murray, a free black in Baltimore. They married soon after he obtained his freedom.

From slavery to freedom

Douglass first unsuccessfully tried to escape from Mr. Freeland, who had hired him out from his owner Colonel Lloyd. In 1836, he tried to escape from his new owner Covey, but failed again.

On September 3, 1838, Douglass successfully escaped by boarding a train to Havre de Grace, Maryland. He was dressed in a sailor's uniform and carried identification papers provided by a free black seaman. He crossed the Susquehanna River by ferry at Havre de Grace, then continued by train to Wilmington, Delaware. From there he went by steamboat to "Quaker City" — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — and eventually reached New York; the whole journey took less than 24 hours.

Frederick Douglass later wrote of his arrival in New York City:

I have often been asked, how I felt when first I found myself on free soil. And my readers may share the same curiosity. There is scarcely anything in my experience about which I could not give a more satisfactory answer. A new world had opened upon me. If life is more than breath, and the "quick round of blood," I lived more in one day than in a year of my slave life. It was a time of joyous excitement which words can but tamely describe. In a letter written to a friend soon after reaching New York, I said: "I felt as one might feel upon escape from a den of hungry lions." Anguish and grief, like darkness and rain, may be depicted ; but gladness and joy, like the rainbow, defy the skill of pen or pencil. [5]

Abolitionist activities

The home and meetinghouse of the Johnsons, where Douglass lived in New Bedford

Douglass continued traveling up to Massachusetts. There he joined various organizations in New Bedford, including a black church, and regularly attended abolitionist meetings. He subscribed to William Lloyd Garrison's weekly journal The Liberator, and in 1841 heard Garrison speak at a meeting of the Bristol Anti-Slavery Society. At one of these meetings, Douglass was unexpectedly asked to speak.

After he told his story, he was encouraged to become an anti-slavery lecturer. Douglass was inspired by Garrison and later stated that "no face and form ever impressed me with such sentiments [of the hatred of slavery] as did those of William Lloyd Garrison." Garrison was likewise impressed with Douglass and wrote of him in The Liberator. Several days later, Douglass delivered his first speech at the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society's annual convention in Nantucket. Then 23 years old, Douglass said later that his legs were shaking but he conquered his nervousness and gave an eloquent speech about his rough life as a slave.

In 1843, Douglass participated in the American Anti-Slavery Society's Hundred Conventions project, a six-month tour of meeting halls throughout the Eastern and Midwestern United States. He participated in the Seneca Falls Convention, the birthplace of the American feminist movement, and signed its Declaration of Sentiments.

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Autobiography

Frederick Douglass as a young man.

Douglass' best-known work is his first autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, published in 1845. At the time, some skeptics attacked the book and questioned whether a black man could have produced such an eloquent piece of literature. The book received generally positive reviews and it became an immediate bestseller. Within three years of its publication, the autobiography had been reprinted nine times with 11,000 copies circulating in the United States; it was also translated into French and Dutch and published in Europe.

The book's success had an unfortunate side effect: Douglass' friends and mentors feared that the publicity would draw the attention of his ex-owner, Hugh Auld, who might try to get his "property" back. They encouraged Douglass to tour Ireland, as many other former slaves had done. Douglass set sail on the Cambria for Liverpool on August 16, 1845, and arrived in Ireland as the Irish Potato Famine was beginning.

Douglass published three versions of his autobiography during his lifetime (and revised the third of these), each time expanding on the previous one. The 1845 Narrative, which was his biggest seller, was followed by My Bondage and My Freedom in 1855. In 1881, after the Civil War, Douglass published Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, which he revised in 1892.

Travels to the United Kingdom

Mural featuring Frederick Douglass in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Starting in August 1845, Douglass spent two years in the United Kingdom, where he gave many lectures, mainly in Protestant churches or chapels. His draw was such that some facilities were "crowded to suffocation"; an example was his hugely popular London Reception Speech, which Douglass delivered at Alexander Fletcher's Finsbury Chapel in May 1846. Douglass remarked that in England he was treated not "as a color, but as a man." He met and befriended the Irish nationalist Daniel O'Connell.

It was during this trip that Douglass became officially free, when his freedom was purchased from his owner by British supporters.[6] British sympathizers led by Ellen Richardson of Newcastle upon Tyne collected the money needed to purchase his freedom. Douglass roused tumultuous crowds with his speeches about slavery and his experiences, and he met with acclaim. In 1846 Douglass was able to meet with Thomas Clarkson, one of the last survivors of the abolitionists who had persuaded Parliament to abolish slavery in Great Britain and its colonies.[7]

After his return to the US, Douglass produced some regular abolitionist newspapers: The North Star, Frederick Douglass Weekly, Frederick Douglass' Paper, Douglass' Monthly and New National Era. The motto of The North Star was "Right is of no Sex — Truth is of no Color — God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren."

Frederick Douglass in 1856

Douglass believed that education was key for African Americans to improve their lives. For this reason, he was an early advocate for desegregation of schools. In the 1850s, he was especially outspoken in New York. While the ratio of African American to white students there was 1 to 40, African Americans received education funding at a ratio of only 1 to 1,600.[citation needed] This meant that the facilities and instruction for African-American children were vastly inferior. Douglass criticized the situation and called for court action to open all schools to all children. He stated that inclusion within the educational system was a more pressing need for African Americans than political issues such as suffrage.

Douglass' work spanned the years prior to and during the Civil War. He was acquainted with the radical abolitionist John Brown but disapproved of Brown's plan to start an armed slave rebellion in the South. Brown visited Douglass' home two months before he led the raid on the federal armory in Harpers Ferry. After the raid, Douglass fled for a time to Canada, fearing guilt by association and arrest as a co-conspirator. Douglass believed that the attack on federal property would enrage the American public. Douglass later shared a stage at a speaking engagement in Harpers Ferry with Andrew Hunter, the prosecutor who successfully convicted Brown.

Douglass conferred with President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 on the treatment of black soldiers, and with President Andrew Johnson on the subject of black suffrage. His early collaborators were the white abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips. In the early 1850s, however, Douglass split with those who supported Garrison over the issue of interpretation of the United States Constitution. He believed it provided all that was necessary to gain the freedom of African Americans and guarantee their rights.

Civil War years

Before the Civil War

In 1851, Douglass merged the North Star with Gerrit Smith's Liberty Party Paper to form Frederick Douglass' Paper, which was published until 1860. Douglass came to agree with Smith and Lysander Spooner that the United States Constitution was an anti-slavery document. This reversed his earlier belief that it was pro-slavery.

At one time he had shared the views of William Lloyd Garrison, who was concerned that support for slavery was part of the fabric of the Constitution. Garrison had publicly expressed his opinion by burning copies of the document. Further contributing to their growing separation, Garrison was worried that the North Star competed with his own National Anti-Slavery Standard and Marius Robinson's Anti-Slavery Bugle.

Douglass' change of position on the Constitution was one of the most notable incidents of the division in the abolitionist movement after the publication of Spooner's book The Unconstitutionality of Slavery in 1846. This shift in opinion, and other political differences, created a rift between Douglass and Garrison. Douglass further angered Garrison by saying that the Constitution could and should be used as an instrument in the fight against slavery. With this, Douglass began to assert his independence from Garrison and his supporters.

Frederick Douglass stood up to speak in favor of women's right to vote.

In 1848, Douglass attended the first women's rights convention, the Seneca Falls Convention, as the only African American.[8] Elizabeth Cady Stanton asked the assembly to pass a resolution asking for women's suffrage.[9] Many of those present opposed the idea, including influential Quakers James and Lucretia Mott. Douglass stood and spoke eloquently in favor; he said that he could not accept the right to vote himself as a black man if woman could not also claim that right. Douglass projected that the world would be a better place if women were involved in the political sphere. "In this denial of the right to participate in government, not merely the degradation of woman and the perpetuation of a great injustice happens, but the maiming and repudiation of one-half of the moral and intellectual power of the government of the world."[10] Douglass's powerful words rang true with enough attendees that the resolution passed.[11]

In March 1860, Douglass' youngest daughter Annie died in Rochester, New York, while he was still in England. Douglass returned from England the following month. He took a route through Canada to avoid detection.

By the time of the Civil War, Douglass was one of the most famous black men in the country, known for his orations on the condition of the black race and on other issues such as women's rights. His eloquence gathered crowds at every location. His reception by leaders in England and Ireland added to his stature.

Fight for emancipation

Douglass and the abolitionists argued that because the aim of the war was to end slavery, African Americans should be allowed to engage in the fight for their freedom. Douglass publicized this view in his newspapers and several speeches.

President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which took effect on January 1, 1863, declared the freedom of all slaves in Confederate-held territory.[12] Douglass described the spirit of those awaiting the proclamation: "We were waiting and listening as for a bolt from the sky...we were watching...by the dim light of the stars for the dawn of a new day...we were longing for the answer to the agonizing prayers of centuries."[13]

With the North no longer obliged to return slaves to their owners in the South, Douglass fought for equality for his people. He made plans with Lincoln to move the liberated slaves out of the South. During the war, Douglass helped the Union by serving as a recruiter for the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. His son Frederick Douglass Jr. also served as a recruiter and his other son, Lewis Douglass, fought for the 54th Massachusetts Regiment at the Battle of Fort Wagner.

Slavery everywhere in the United States was outlawed by the post-war (1865) ratification of the 13th Amendment. The 14th Amendment provided for citizenship and equal protection under the law. The 15th Amendment protected all citizens from being discriminated against in voting because of race.

Lincoln's death

Frederick Douglass

At the unveiling of the Emancipation Memorial in Washington's Lincoln Park, Douglass was in the audience while a tribute to Lincoln was being given by a prominent lawyer. Some of the audience felt it did not do him justice and asked Douglass to speak. Reluctantly, Douglass stood up and spoke. With no preparation, he gave an eloquent tribute to the assassinated President, a speech for which he received much respect.

In the speech, Douglass spoke frankly about Lincoln, balancing the good and the bad in his account. He called Lincoln "the white man's president" and cited his tardiness in joining the cause of emancipation. He noted that Lincoln initially opposed the expansion of slavery but did not support its elimination. But Douglass also stated, "Can any colored man, or any white man friendly to the freedom of all men, ever forget the night which followed the first day of January 1863, when the world was to see if Abraham Lincoln would prove to be as good as his word?"[14]

The crowd, roused by his speech, gave him a standing ovation. A witness later said, "I have heard Clay speak and many fantastic men, but never have I heard a speech as impressive as that."[citation needed] A long-told anecdote claims that the widow Mary Lincoln gave Douglass Lincoln's favorite walking stick in appreciation. Lincoln's walking stick still rests in Douglass' house known as Cedar Hill. It is both a testimony and a tribute to the effect of Douglass' powerful oratory.

Reconstruction era

Cedar Hill, Douglass' house in Washington, D.C.

After the Civil War, Douglass was appointed to several important political positions. He served as President of the Reconstruction-era Freedman's Savings Bank; as marshal of the District of Columbia; as minister-resident and consul-general to the Republic of Haiti (1889–1891); and as chargé d'affaires for the Dominican Republic. After two years, he resigned from his ambassadorship because of disagreements with U.S. government policy. In 1872, he moved to Washington, D.C., after his house on South Avenue in Rochester, New York burned down; arson was suspected. Also lost was a complete issue of The North Star.

In 1868, Douglass supported the presidential campaign of Ulysses S. Grant. President Grant signed into law the Klan Act and the second and third Enforcement Acts. Grant used their provisions vigorously, suspending habeas corpus in South Carolina and sending troops there and into other states; under his leadership over 5,000 arrests were made and the Ku Klux Klan received a serious blow. Grant's vigor in disrupting the Klan made him unpopular among many whites, but Frederick Douglass praised him. An associate of Douglass wrote of Grant that African Americans "will ever cherish a grateful remembrance of his name, fame and great services."

In 1872, 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. He was nominated without his knowledge. During the campaign, he neither campaigned for the ticket nor acknowledged that he had been nominated.

Douglass continued his speaking engagements. On the lecture circuit, he spoke at many colleges around the country during the Reconstruction era, including Bates College in Lewiston, Maine in 1873. He continued to emphasize the importance of voting rights and exercise of suffrage.

White insurgents had quickly arisen in the South after the war, organizing first as secret vigilante groups like the Ku Klux Klan. Through the years, armed insurgency took different forms, the last as powerful paramilitary groups such as the White League and the Red Shirts during the 1870s in the Deep South. They operated as "the military arm of the Democratic Party", turning out Republican officeholders and disrupting elections.[15] Their power continued to grow in the South; more than 10 years after the end of the war, white Democrats regained political power in every state of the former Confederacy and began to reassert white supremacy. They enforced this by a combination of violence, late 19th c. laws imposing segregation and a concerted effort to disfranchise African Americans. From 1890-1908, white Democrats passed new constitutions and statutes in the South that created requirements for voter registration and voting that effectively disfranchised most blacks and tens of thousands of poor whites.[16] This disfranchisement and segregation were enforced for more than six decades into the 20th century.

Douglass's stump speech for 25 years after the end of the Civil War was to emphasize work to counter the racism that was then prevalent in unions.[17]

Family life

Douglass and Anna had five children: Charles Remond Douglass, Rosetta Douglass, Lewis Henry Douglass, Frederick Douglass Jr., and Annie Douglass (died at the age of ten). The two oldest, Charles and Rossetta, helped produce his newspapers.

Douglass was an ordained minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

In 1877, Douglass bought his final home in Washington D.C., on a hill above the Anacostia River. He named it Cedar Hill (also spelled CedarHill). He expanded the house from 14 to 21 rooms, and included a china closet. One year later, he expanded his property to 15 acres (61,000 m²) by buying adjoining lots. The home has been designated the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site.

Frederick Douglass with his second wife Helen Pitts Douglass (sitting). The woman standing is her sister Eva Pitts.

After the disappointments of whites' regaining power in the South after Reconstruction, many African Americans, called Exodusters, moved to Kansas to form all-black towns where they could be free. Douglass spoke out against the movement, urging blacks to stick it out. He was condemned and booed by black audiences.

In 1877, Douglass was appointed a United States Marshal. In 1881, he was appointed Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia. His wife, Anna Murray Douglas, died in 1882, leaving him depressed. His association with the activist Ida B. Wells brought meaning back into his life.

In 1884, Douglass married Helen Pitts, a white feminist from Honeoye, New York. Pitts was the daughter of Gideon Pitts, Jr., an abolitionist colleague and friend of Douglass. Pitts was a graduate of Mount Holyoke College (then called Mount Holyoke Female Seminary). She had worked on a radical feminist publication named Alpha while living in Washington, D.C. The couple faced a storm of controversy with their marriage, since she was both white and nearly 20 years younger than he. Her family stopped speaking to her; his was bruised, as his children felt his marriage was a repudiation of their mother. But feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton congratulated the couple.[18] The new couple traveled to England, France, Italy, Egypt and Greece from 1886 to 1887.

At the 1888 Republican National Convention, Douglass became the first African American to receive a vote for President of the United States in a major party's roll call vote.[19][20][21]

In 1892 the Haitian government appointed Douglass as its commissioner to the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition. He spoke for Irish Home Rule and the efforts of leader Charles Stewart Parnell in Ireland. He briefly revisited Ireland in 1886. Also in 1892, he constructed rental housing for blacks in the Fells Point area of Baltimore. Now known as Douglass Place, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.[22][23]

Death

Gravestone of Frederick Douglass located in Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, New York

On February 20, 1895, Douglass attended a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, D.C. During that meeting, he was brought to the platform and given a standing ovation by the audience. Shortly after he returned home, Frederick Douglass died of a massive heart attack or stroke in his adopted hometown of Washington, D.C. He is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York.

In 1921, members of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity designated Frederick Douglass as an honorary member. Theirs was the first African-American intercollegiate fraternity. Douglass was the only man to receive an honorary membership posthumously.[24]

In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante named Frederick Douglass to his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.[25]

Establishing date of birth

1965 US Postage Stamp, published during the upsurge of the Civil Rights Movement

In successive autobiographies, Douglass gave more precise estimates of when he was born, his final estimate being 1817. He adopted February 14 as his birthday because his mother Harriet Bailey used to call him her "little valentine". Douglass was born at 38°53′04″N 75°57′29″W / 38.8845°N 75.958°W / 38.8845; -75.958[2] on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where slaves were punished for learning to read or write and so could not keep records. Historian Dickson Preston examined the records of Douglass' former owner Aaron Anthony and determined that February 1818 was when Douglass was born.[26]

Works

Writings

Speeches

Cultural representation

See also

Sources

  • Parts of this article are drawn from Houston A. Baker, Jr., introduction to the 1986 Penguin edition of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.

References

  1. ^ Frederick Douglass (1845). "Narrative of the Life of , an American Slave". http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/DouNarr.html. Retrieved February 10, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Amanda Barker (1996). "The Search for Frederick Douglass' Birthplace". http://www.riverheritage.org/douglass/. Retrieved April 18, 2009. 
  3. ^ ""Frederick Douglass: Talbot County's Native Son", The Historical Society of Talbot County, Maryland". http://www.hstc.org/frederickdouglass.htm. 
  4. ^ Douglass, Frederick. The life and times of Frederick Douglass: his early life as a slave, his escape from bondage, and his complete history, p. 50. Dover Value Editions, Courier Dover Publications, 2003. ISBN 0486431703
  5. ^ Douglass, Frederick (1882). "Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. http://books.google.com/books?id=X8ILAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=life+and+times+of+frederick+douglas&cd=2#v=onepage&q=&f=false. Retrieved December 20, 2009. 
  6. ^ http://www.rense.com/general34/lifeand.htm
  7. ^ Simon Schama, Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves, and the American Revolution, New York: HarperCollins, 2006 Pbk, pp. 415-421
  8. ^ Stanton, 1997, p. 85.
  9. ^ USConstitution.net. Text of the "Declaration of Sentiments", and the Resolutions. Retrieved on April 24, 2009.
  10. ^ McMillen, 2008, pp. 93–94.
  11. ^ National Park Service. Women's Rights. Report of the Woman's Rights Convention, July 19–20, 1848. Retrieved on April 24, 2009.
  12. ^ Slaves in Union-held areas were not covered by this war-measures act.
  13. ^ "The Fight For Emancipation". http://www.history.rochester.edu/class/douglass/part4.html. Retrieved April 19 2007. 
  14. ^ "Oration in Memory of Abraham Lincoln by Frederick Douglass". Teachingamericanhistory.org. http://www.teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?documentprint=39. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  15. ^ George C. Rable, But There Was No Peace: The Role of Violence in the Politics of Reconstruction, Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1984, p. 132
  16. ^ Richard H. Pildes, "Democracy, Anti-Democracy, and the Canon", Constitutional Commentary, Vol.17, 2000, pp.12-13, accessed 10 Mar 2008
  17. ^ Olasky, Marvin. "History turned right side up". WORLD magazine. 13 February 2010. p. 22.
  18. ^ Frederick Douglas biography at winningthevote.org. Accessed October 3, 2006.
  19. ^ "Past Convention Highlights." Republican Convention 2000. CNN/AllPolitics.com. Accessed 2008-07-01.
  20. ^ "Official Proceedings of the Republican National Convention Held at Chicago, June 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 25, 1888". http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=YSENAAAAIAAJ. 
  21. ^ "CNN: Think you know your Democratic convention trivia?". http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/08/25/dems.convention.trivia/index.html. 
  22. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. http://www.nr.nps.gov/. 
  23. ^ "Maryland Historical Trust". Douglass Place, Baltimore City. Maryland Historical Trust. 2008-11-21. http://www.marylandhistoricaltrust.net/nr/NRDetail.aspx?HDID=764&COUNTY=Baltimore%20City&FROM=NRCountyList.aspx?COUNTY=Baltimore%20City. 
  24. ^ "Prominent Alpha Men". http://www.albany.edu/~aphia/newsite/famousas.html. Retrieved May 6 2007. 
  25. ^ Asante, Molefi Kete (2002). 100 Greatest African Americans: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Amherst, New York. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-963-8.
  26. ^ McFeely, 1991, p. 8.
  27. ^ Frederick Douglass and Riversmeet: connecting 19th century struggles, Socialist Worker online, December 1 2007
  28. ^ Civilization Revolution: Great People "CivFanatics" Retrieved on 3rd September 2009

Further reading

Scholarship
  • Gates, Jr., Henry Louis, ed. Frederick Douglass, Autobiography (Library of America, 1994) ISBN 978-0-94045079-0
  • Foner, Philip Sheldon. The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass. New York: International Publishers, 1950.
  • Huggins, Nathan Irvin, and Oscar Handlin. Slave and Citizen: The Life of Frederick Douglass. Library of American Biography. Boston: Little, Brown, 1980; Longman (1997). ISBN 0673393429
  • Lampe, Gregory P. Frederick Douglass: Freedom's Voice,. Rhetoric and Public Affairs Series. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1998. ISBN-X (alk. paper) ISBN (pbk. alk. paper) (on his oratory)
  • Levine, Robert S. Martin Delany, Frederick Douglass, and the Politics of Representative Identity. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997. ISBN (alk. paper). ISBN (pbk.: alk. paper) (cultural history)
  • McFeely, William S. Frederick Douglass. New York: Norton, 1991. ISBN 039331376X
  • McMillen, Sally Gregory. Seneca Falls and the origins of the women's rights movement. Oxford University Press, 2008. ISBN 0195182650
  • Oakes, James. The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 2007. ISBN 0-39306194-9
  • Quarles, Benjamin. Frederick Douglass. Washington: Associated Publishers, 1948.
  • Stanton, Elizabeth Cady; edited by Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, As Revealed in Her Letters, Diary and Reminiscences, Harper & Brothers, 1922.
  • Webber, Thomas, Deep Like Rivers: Education in the Slave Quarter Community 1831-1865. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. (1978).
  • Woodson, C.G., The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861: A History of the Education of the Colored People of the United States from the Beginning of Slavery to the Civil War. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, (1915); Indy Publ. (2005) ISBN 1421926709
For young readers
  • Miller, William. Frederick Douglass: The Last Day of Slavery. Illus. by Cedric Lucas. Lee & Low Books, 1995. ISBN 1880000423
  • Weidt, Maryann N. Voice of Freedom: a Story about Frederick Douglass. Illus. by Jeni Reeves. Lerner Publications, (2001). ISBN 1-575-05553-8
Documentary films
  • Frederick Douglass and the White Negro [videorecording] / Writer/Director John J Doherty, produced by Camel Productions, Ireland. Irish Film Board/TG4/BCI.; 2008
  • Frederick Douglass [videorecording] / produced by Greystone Communications, Inc. for A&E Network ; executive producers, Craig Haffner and Donna E. Lusitana.; 1997
  • Frederick Douglass: When the Lion Wrote History [videorecording] / a co-production of ROJA Productions and WETA-TV.
  • Frederick Douglass, Abolitionist Editor [videorecording]/a production of Schlessinger Video Productions.
  • Race to Freedom [videorecording] : the story of the underground railroad / an Atlantis

External links

Douglass' sources online

Resource Guides

Biographical information

Memorials to Frederick Douglass

Preceded by
None
United States Equal Rights Party Vice-Presidential Nominee
1872
Succeeded by
Marietta Stow (National Equal Rights Party)


Quotes

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I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my own abhorrence.

Frederick Douglass (c. 181820 February 1895) was an American abolitionist, editor, orator, author, statesman and reformer; born a slave as Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey.

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If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning...
We deem it a settled point that the destiny of the colored man is bound up with that of the white people of this country.
The relation between the white and colored people of this country is the great, paramount, imperative, and all-commanding question for this age and nation to solve.
No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.
  • I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard on this or the other side of the Atlantic, I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.
  • The ground which a colored man occupies in this country is, every inch of it, sternly disputed.
    • Speech at the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society annual meeting, New York City (May 1853)
  • I say nothing of father, for he is shrouded in a mystery I have never been able to penetrate. Slavery does away with fathers, as it does away with families. Slavery has no use for either fathers or families, and its laws do not recognize their existence in the social arrangements of the plantation.
  • If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must pay for all they get. If we ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and, if needs be, by our lives, and the lives of others.
    • An address on West India Emancipation (1857-08-04)
  • We deem it a settled point that the destiny of the colored man is bound up with that of the white people of this country. ... We are here, and here we are likely to be. To imagine that we shall ever be eradicated is absurd and ridiculous. We can be remodified, changed, assimilated, but never extinguished. We repeat, therefore, that we are here; and that this is our country; and the question for the philosophers and statesmen of the land ought to be, What principles should dictate the policy of the action toward us? We shall neither die out, nor be driven out; but shall go with this people, either as a testimony against them, or as an evidence in their favor throughout their generations.
    • Essay in North Star (November 1858); as quoted in Faces at the Bottom of the Well : The Permanence of Racism (1992) by Derrick Bell, p. 40
  • The destiny of the colored American ... is the destiny of America.
    • Speech at the Emancipation League, Boston (1862-02-12)
  • More than twenty years of unswerving devotion to our common cause may give me some humble claim to be trusted at this momentous crisis. I will not argue. To do so implies hesitation and doubt, and you do not hesitate. You do not doubt. The day dawns; the morning star is bright upon the horizon! The iron gate of our prison stands half open. One gallant rush from the North will fling it wide open, while four millions of our brothers and sisters shall march out into liberty. The chance is now given you to end in a day the bondage of centuries, and to rise in one bound from social degradation to the place of common equality with all other varieties of men.
  • The relation between the white and colored people of this country is the great, paramount, imperative, and all-commanding question for this age and nation to solve.
    • Speech at the Church of the Puritans, New York City (May 1863)
  • Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters US, let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder, and bullets in his pocket, and there is no power on earth or under the earth which can deny that he has earned the right of citizenship in the United States.
  • In regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us... I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! ... And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! ... your interference is doing him positive injury.
    • "What the Black Man Wants" — speech in Boston, Massachusetts (1865-01-26)
  • Most that I have done and suffered in the service of our cause has been in public, and I have received much encouragement at every step of the way. You, on the other hand, have labored in a private way. I have wrought in the day — you in the night. I have had the applause of the crowd and the satisfaction that comes of being approved by the multitude, while the most that you have done has been witnessed by a few trembling, scarred, and foot-sore bondmen and women, whom you have led out of the house of bondage, and whose heartfelt " God bless you " has been your only reward. The midnight sky and the silent stars have been the witnesses of your devotion to freedom and of your heroism. Excepting John Brown — of sacred memory — I know of no one who has willingly encountered more perils and hardships to serve our enslaved people than you have. Much that you have done would seem improbable to those who do not know you as I know you. It is to me a great pleasure and a great privilege to bear testimony to your character and your works, and to say to those to whom you may come, that I regard you in every way truthful and trustworthy.
    • Letter to Harriet Tubman (29 August 1868) published in Harriet, the Moses of Her People (1886) by Sarah Hopkins Bradford, p. 135
  • Despite of it all, the Negro remains ... cool, strong, imperturbable, and cheerful.
    • Speech on the twenty-first anniversary of Emancipation in the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C. (April 1883)
  • In all the relations of life and death, we are met by the color line.
    • Speech at the Convention of Colored Men, Louisville, Kentucky (1883-09-24)
  • No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.
    • Speech at Civil Rights Mass Meeting, Washington, D.C. (1883-10-22)
  • The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.
    • Speech on the twenty-third anniversary of Emancipation in the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C. (April 1885)
  • Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.
    • Speech on the twenty-fourth anniversary of Emancipation in the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C. (April 1886)
  • Whatever the future may have in store for us, one thing is certain — this new revolution in human thought will never go backward. When a great truth once gets abroad in the world, no power on earth can imprison it, or prescribe its limits, or suppress it. It is bound to go on till it becomes the thought of the world. Such a truth is woman’s right to equal liberty with man. She was born with it. It was hers before she comprehended it. It is inscribed upon all the powers and faculties of her soul, and no custom, law, or usage can ever destroy it. Now that it has got fairly fixed in the minds of the few, it is bound to become fixed in the minds of the many, and be supported at last by a great cloud of witnesses, which no man can number and no power can withstand.
  • It is not uncommon to charge slaves with great treachery toward each other, but I must say I never loved, esteemed, or confided in men more than I did in these. They were as true as steel, and no band of brothers could be more loving. There were no mean advantages taken of each other, as is sometimes the case where slaves are situated as we were, no tattling, no giving each other bad names to Mr. Freeland, and no elevating one at the expense of the other. We never undertook to do any thing of any importance which was likely to affect each other, without mutual consultation. We were generally a unit, and moved together. Thoughts and sentiments were exchanged between us which might well be called incendiary had they been known by our masters.
  • Mr. Lincoln was not only a great President, but a great man — too great to be small in anything. In his company I was never in any way reminded of my humble origin, or of my unpopular color.
    • The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1892), Part 2, Chapter 12: Hope for the Nation
  • From the first I saw no chance of bettering the condition of the freedman until he should cease to be merely a freedman and should become a citizen.
    • The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1892), Part 2, Chapter 13: Vast Changes

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845)

The singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave...
It is possible, and even quite probable, that but for the mere circumstance of being removed from that plantation to Baltimore, I should have to-day, instead of being here seated by my own table, in the enjoyment of freedom and the happiness of home, writing this Narrative, been confined in the galling chains of slavery.
Full text online at Wikisource
  • I have often been utterly astonished, since I came to the north, to find persons who could speak of the singing, among slaves, as evidence of their contentment and happiness. It is impossible to conceive of a greater mistake. Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy. The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears. At least, such is my experience. I have often sung to drown my sorrow, but seldom to express my happiness. Crying for joy, and singing for joy, were alike uncommon to me while in the jaws of slavery. The singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave; the songs of the one and of the other are prompted by the same emotion.
    • Ch. 2
  • Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains.
    • Ch. 2
Going to live at Baltimore laid the foundation, and opened the gateway, to all my subsequent prosperity. I have ever regarded it as the first plain manifestation of that kind providence which has ever since attended me, and marked my life with so many favors.
  • I look upon my departure from Colonel Lloyd's plantation as one of the most interesting events of my life. It is possible, and even quite probable, that but for the mere circumstance of being removed from that plantation to Baltimore, I should have to-day, instead of being here seated by my own table, in the enjoyment of freedom and the happiness of home, writing this Narrative, been confined in the galling chains of slavery. Going to live at Baltimore laid the foundation, and opened the gateway, to all my subsequent prosperity. I have ever regarded it as the first plain manifestation of that kind providence which has ever since attended me, and marked my life with so many favors. I regarded the selection of myself as being somewhat remarkable. There were a number of slave children that might have been sent from the plantation to Baltimore. There were those younger, those older, and those of the same age. I was chosen from among them all, and was the first, last, and only choice.
    I may be deemed superstitions, and even egotistical, in regarding this event as a special interposition of divine Providence in my favor. But I should be false to the earliest sentiments of my soul, if I suppressed the opinion. I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my own abhorrence. From my earliest recollection, I date the entertainment of a deep conviction that slavery would not always be able to hold me within its foul embrace; and in the darkest hours of my career in slavery, this living word of faith and spirit of hope departed not from me, but remained like ministering angels to cheer me through the gloom. This good spirit was from God, and to him I offer thanksgiving and praise.
    • Ch. 5
  • Whilst I was saddened by the thought of losing the aid of my kind mistress, I was gladdened by the invaluable instruction which, by the merest accident, I had gained from my master. Though conscious of the difficulty of learning without a teacher, I set out with high hope, and a fixed purpose, at whatever cost of trouble, to learn how to read. The very decided manner with which he spoke, and strove to impress his wife with the evil consequences of giving me instruction, served to convince me that he was deeply sensible of the truths he was uttering. It gave me the best assurance that that I might rely with the utmost confidence on the results which, he said, would flow from teaching me to read.
    • Ch. 6
  • The silver trump of freedom had roused my soul to eternal wakefulness. Freedom now appeared, to disappear no more forever. It was heard in every sound, and seen in every thing. It was ever present to torment me with a sense of my wretched condition. I saw nothing without seeing it, I heard nothing without hearing it, and felt nothing without feeling it. It looked from every star, it smiled in every calm, breathed in every wind, and moved in every storm.
    • Ch. 7
  • I assert most unhesitatingly, that the religion of the south is a mere covering for the most horrid crimes - a justifier of the most appalling barbarity, — a sanctifier of the most hateful frauds, — and a dark shelter under which the darkest, foulest, grossest, and most infernal deeds of slaveholders find the strongest protection.
    • Ch. 10
  • To make a contented slave it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken the moral and mental vision and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason.
    • Ch. 10

What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? (1852)

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.
Speech, Corinthian Hall, Rochester, NY (1852-07-05). Full text at Wikisource.
  • The 4th of July is the first great fact in your nation's history — the very ring-bolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny. Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance. I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ring-bolt to the chain of your nation's destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost.
  • This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony.
  • I shall see, this day, and its popular characteristics, from the slave's point of view. Standing, there, identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery — the great sin and shame of America! "I will not equivocate; I will not excuse;" I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgement is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.
    • Douglass here quotes William Lloyd Garrison, who famously declared in the first issue of The Liberator: "I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD."
It is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused...
  • At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation's ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.
  • What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.
  • You profess to believe "that, of one blood, God made all nations of men to dwell on the face of all the earth," and hath commanded all men, everywhere to love one another; yet you notoriously hate, (and glory in your hatred), all men whose skins are not colored like your own. You declare, before the world, and are understood by the world to declare, that you "hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; and that, among these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;" and yet, you hold securely, in a bondage which, according to your own Thomas Jefferson, "is worse than ages of that which your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose," a seventh part of the inhabitants of your country.

Quotes about Douglass

  • At one time Mr. Douglass was travelling in the state of Pennsylvania, and was forced, on account of his colour, to ride in the baggage-car, in spite of the fact that he had paid the same price for his passage that the other passengers had paid. When some of the white passengers went into the baggage-car to console Mr. Douglass, and one of them said to him: "I am sorry, Mr. Douglass, that you have been degraded in this manner," Mr. Douglass straightened himself up on the box upon which he was sitting, and replied: "They cannot degrade Frederick Douglass. The soul that is within me no man can degrade. I am not the one that is being degraded on account of this treatment, but those who are inflicting it upon me..."

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Frederick Douglass
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This is a disambiguation page, which lists works which share the same title. If an article link referred you here, please consider editing it to point directly to the intended page.


Frederick Douglass may refer to:


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Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

FREDERICK DOUGLASS (1817-1895), American orator and journalist, was born in Tuckahoe, Talbot (Family)|Talbot county, Maryland, probably in February 1817. His mother was a negro slave of exceptional intelligence, and his father was a white man. Until nearly eight years of age, he was under the care of his grandmother; then he lived for a year on the plantation of Colonel Edward Lloyd, of whose vast estate his master, Captain Aaron Anthony, was manager. After a year he was sent to Baltimore, where he lived in the family of Hugh Auld, whose brother, Thomas, had married the daughter of Captain Anthony; Mrs Auld treated him with marked kindness and without her husband's knowledge began teaching him to read. With money secretly earned by blacking boots he purchased his first book, the Columbian Orator; he soon learned to write "free passes" for runaway slaves. Upon the death of Captain Anthony in 1833, he was sent back to the plantation to serve Thomas Auld, who hired him out for a year to one Edward Covey, who had a wide reputation for disciplining slaves, but who did not break Frederick's spirit. Although a new master, William Freeland, who owned a large plantation near St Michael's, Md., treated him with much kindness, he attempted to escape in 1836, but his plans were suspected, and he was put in jail. From lack of evidence he was soon released, and was then sent to Hugh Auld in Baltimore, where he was apprenticed as a ship caulker. He learned his trade in one year, and in September 1838, masquerading as a sailor, he escaped by railway train from Baltimore to New York city. For the sake of greater safety he soon removed to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he changed his name from Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey to Frederick Douglass, "Douglass" being adopted at the suggestion of a friend who greatly admired Scott's Lady of the Lake. For three years he worked as a day labourer in New Bedford. An extempore speech made by him before an anti-slavery meeting at Nantucket, Mass., in August 1841 led to his being appointed one of the agents of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, and in this capacity he delivered during the next four years numerous addresses against slavery, chiefly in the New England and middle states. To quiet the suspicion that he was an impostor, in 1845 he published the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Fearing his recapture, his friends persuaded him to go to England, and from August 1845 to April 1847 he lectured in Ireland, Scotland and England, and did much to enlist the sympathy of the British public with the Abolitionists in America. Before his return a sum of 150 was raised by subscription to secure his legal manumission, thus relieving him from the fear of being returned to slavery in pursuance of the Fugitive Slave Law. From 1847 to 1860 he conducted an anti-slavery weekly journal, known as The North Star, and later as Frederick Douglass's Paper, at Rochester, New York, and, during this time, also was a frequent speaker at anti-slavery meetings. At first a follower of Garrison and a disunionist, he allied himself after 1851 with the more conservative political abolitionists, who, under the leadership of James G. Birney, adhered to the national Constitution and endeavoured to make slavery a dominant political issue. He disapproved of John Brown's attack upon Harper's Ferry in 1859, and declined to take any part in it. During the Civil War he was among the first to suggest the employment of negro troops by the United States government, and two of his sons served in the Union army. After the war he was for several years a popular public lecturer; in September 1866 he was a delegate to the national Loyalist convention at Philadelphia; and in 1869 he became the editor, at Washington, of a short-lived weekly paper, The New National Era, devoted to the interests of the negro race. In 1871 he was assistant secretary of the Santo Domingo commission, appointed by President Grant. He was marshal of the District of Columbia from 1877 to 1881, was recorder of deeds for the district from 1881 to 1886, and from 1889 to 1891 was the American minister resident and consul-general in the Republic of Haiti. He died in Anacostia Heights, District of Columbia, on the 10th of February 1895. He was widely known for his eloquence, and was one of the most effective orators whom the negro race has produced in America.

His autobiography appeared, after two revisions, as The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (London, 1882). See F. M. Holland, Frederick Douglass, The Colored Orator (New York, 1891); C. W. Chesnutt, Frederick Douglass, (Boston, 1899); and Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass (Philadelphia, 1907), in the series of American Crisis Biographies.


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Frederick Douglass
File:Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass
Born February 14, 1818(1818-02-14)
Talbot County, Maryland
Died February 20, 1895 (aged 77)
Washington, D.C.
Other names Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey
Religion Methodist

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was a famous African-American in America in the 19th century. He was born a slave in Maryland, but learned to read and escaped to the North in the 1830s. He soon became an abolitionist (someone who wants to end slavery), and worked with other abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison. He wrote two books, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and My Bondage and My Freedom. Douglass spent several years in England and Ireland. During the Civil War, Douglass was the most famous black man in the country, and met Abraham Lincoln. After the War, he served as Ambassador to Haiti and an advocate for equal rights for African-Americans.

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