African Americans In History: Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass fought against slavery. Learn more about his life.

Frederick Douglass was born in February 1818 into slavery in Easton, Maryland. During his childhood he worked on plantations starting at a very young age. Douglass got little education through out his childhood. In 1835 William Freeland bought Douglass as a slave. Douglass attempted to runaway from the plantation, but he failed and was imprisoned. Shortly after he was in prison, he met Anna Murray, also a slave that worked for Freeland. They feel in love and Douglass was underway in another plane to escape to a better life. His attempt was a success in 1837. He went to New York. Once he was settled there, he sent for Anna Murry. They were married in 1838.

Douglass was an activist in the fight against slavery. Now that he was in New York and was free he could begin to speak publicly about his concerns. For the first time ever he spoke out at an anti-slavery lecture in New York during 1838. After his first time speaking he attended many rallies in the fight against slavery. In 1845 his life story was published. He traveled to England to lecture about slavery and then came back to the Untied States in 1847 to begin his lecture tour though out the free states. Also during this time he began to write and publish the North Star Song.

The first women's rights convention Douglass attended was in 1848. He did not speak however, just took in what others where saying and supported it fully. His involvement with the underground railroad started about this time as well. In 1863 Douglass met with President Lincoln to discuss how the black soldiers were being treated.

Douglass felt there was not fair treatment and they deserved to be equal with white soldiers. They met again sometime late in the year to discuss plans about how to free slaves from the South if the North were to lose the war. Douglass declined to accept the offer of being head of Freedman's Bureau in 1867.

Becoming the editor of the newspaper "New National Era" in 1870 was a big accomplishment for Douglass. He however moved on in 1874 to become president of Freedman's Savings & Trust Company. During 1877 Douglass became the US marshal, but he was getting older and his fight for black rights was slowing down considerably. His beloved wife Anna died in 1882, but only two years later he remarried to Helen Pitts, who was from Rochester. After his long, hard fight, Douglass died February 20, 1895 in Washington DC.

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