Frederick Douglass was Born
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery by Harriet Bailey. His father’s identity is unknown; however, it is known that he was a white man and there is much speculation that points towards his master being his father, which is not out of the question due to the fact that some African American slaves were kept as sex slaves. Douglass was raised by his grandmother, and as consequence did not know his mother very well and was not permitted to attend her funeral.
Douglass spent time under multiple masters. While in the custody of slaveowner Captain Anthony, he was sent to work for Hugh and Sophia Auld. His new mistress had never owned a slave before, so she had started to teach him the alphabet and small words until her husband found out. Literacy was what first gave Douglass a sense of freedom, and he pursued it during his entire time with the Auld family.
Douglass eventually left the Auld family to serve Hugh’s brother, Thomas, and decided to escape as early as possible. After a failed escape attempt, Douglass is sent back to Hugh Auld. He became a shipbuilding apprentice and, after asserting disobedience, Auld allowed Douglass to find his own work as long as he paid him three dollars a week. After some time, Douglass finally managed to runaway to New York, change his name, and become a free man.
After his escape, Douglass became an advocate for abolitionism using the tools that were most valuable to his escape: his ability to write and speak. He was inspired by the works of William Lloyd Garrison, who eventually encouraged him to take a figurehead position in the abolition movement. He delivered speeches across the United States as well as in Europe and founded an abolitionist paper in 1847 called the North Star. Douglass was also an activist for women’s rights, being the only African-American present at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. Later, Douglass would speak at President Lincoln’s funeral, become the first African American to hold a high office as ambassador to the Dominican Republic, and become the first African American to get a vote for a nomination for candidacy for President of the United States.
He died of a heart attack in 1895 after a meeting for the National Council of Women. (Editors)
Frederick Douglass’s legacy as a former slave and activist still resonates with the American people today and serves as a reminder of what can be accomplished with patience and dedication.