Frederick Douglass

In: People

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass
By: Francisco Bogado and Fátima Espinoza
Frederick Douglass was born in a slave cabin, in February 1818. When he was about eight, he was sent to Baltimore to live as a servant with his mother’s relatives.
Returning to the east coast, around the age of fifteen, Douglass became a field hand, and experienced most of the horrifying conditions that plagued slaves during the 270 years of legalized slavery in America. Douglass shared his knowledge with others enslaved. Hired by William Freeland, he taught other slaves on the plantation to read the New Testament in a weekly religious service. The interest was so great that in a week, more than 40 slaves attended classes. In 1838 Douglass escaped from slavery. He first went to New York City. He was internationally recognized as an uncompromising abolitionist, indefatigable worker for justice and equal opportunity and unyielding defender of women's rights. He became a trusted advisor to Abraham Lincoln, United States Marshal for the District of Columbia, Recorder of Deeds in Washington, DC, and the Minister General of the Republic of Haiti. In 1843 while he was in New Bedford, he began to read the liberator, an abolitionist journal. He also attended anti-slavery meetings held in African American Churches. Douglass was chased and beaten by an angry mob before being rescued by a local family Quaker. Douglass credited The Columbian Orator with clarifying and defining his views on human rights. In 1848, he was the only African American to attend the convention of the first women's rights in Seneca Falls, New York.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton asked the assembly to pass a resolution declaring the goal of women's suffrage. Many of those present opposed the idea. Douglass stood and spoke eloquently in favor, arguing that he could not accept the right to vote as a black man that women could not also claim that right. The resolution was approved. Douglass later clashed with activists from women's rights to support...

View Full Essay