Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was born in 1818 and was a slave on a wheat and tobacco farm. Frederic's mother was also a slave but his father was rumored to be a white slave owner. His mother died when he was a young age but lived with his grandmother. He was six years old when he started working as a slave. He kept a diary about his experience as a slave and mentioned he had no shoes or clothes but had a long linen shirt to wear. Douglass would mention he would hear his relatives and other slaves being beaten at night while he was in bed.

At age 8 he was sent to Maryland to be with another slave owner that was related to his previous master. He learned how to read and write from the wife of his master (owner) but her husband stopped her from continuing any more teaching because it was against the law. Slaves were only meant to obey orders given by their master’s. In the meantime, Douglass helped care for their child and did other duties around the house. He also continued to read and write. Later, as he got older he had second thoughts about racial inequality and slavery. He opened a secret school and began teaching other slaves how to read and write when he was a teenager.

Douglass and several other slaves tried to plan a getaway but was caught and set jail. Afterwards, he started working in the shipyard where he met other African Americans that were free. Here he met his future wife Anna Murray. Together they planned a getaway for Douglass and she gave him money to help him flee. He used papers that stated he was not a slave to help him travel to New York City. When he arrived he changed his name multiple times to hide his escape and settled for the name Douglass. He later married Murray and had 5 children.

Douglass later published several books and started his own newspaper. At one point he left the U.S in fear of getting caught when he published his first book. Later, he returned when English friends bought his freedom. He became an important figure in helping recruit black soldiers during the Civil War. He met President Lincoln when the 13th amendment was passed. After his wife passed away in 1882 he remarried a white woman to the dismay of blacks and whites. He spoke against violence committed against blacks before his death in 1895.

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