The African-Americansocial reformer, abolitionist, and writer Frederick Douglass was born onFebruary 1818 in Talbot County, Maryland. We do not know the exact date of hisbirth, but he chose to celebrate it on February 14th. Douglass wasborn into slavery. His plantation was between the cities of Cordova andHillsboro. Douglass had a hard time as a kid.
He didn’t really know his mom andshe then died when Douglass was still a young boy. He then went to live withhis maternal grandmother, but soon was separated from her too. He then went tothe Wye house plantation to work for Aaron Anthony.
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While he was in Baltimorehe taught himself how to read and write due to the fact slaves could not go toschool and weren’t even supposed to be teaching themselves. When he died, hewas sent to Lucretia and Thomas Auld, who sent him to Thomas Auld’s brother,Hugh Auld. Sophia Auld, the husband of Hugh auld started teaching Frederick thealphabet but then, Hugh Auld disapproved, so he had to take it into his ownmatters to observe and teach himself how to read and write, but he had to dothis without anyone finding out or he would have been punished. He started toquestion slavery after reading pamphlets, newspapers, and other things.
WhenDouglass was sent to William Freeland he taught other slaves how to readweekly. They got away with it for almost more than half a year but were thenbarged in on and caught. Thomas Auld sent Douglass to “slave-breaker”Edward Covey. He whipped Douglass on a regular basis and almost “broke” him. Douglasskept taking the beatings until one day he decided to fight back.
Douglass won,and Covey no longer tried to beat him. Douglass had tried to escape fromslavery twice already failing both times. In 1837, Douglass met his future wifeAnna Murray, a black woman that was free in Baltimore. This influenced him toget his own freedom. On September 3, 1838, he disguised himself as a sailor andgot on a train headed north while using money from Murray to get his ticket.
Justless than a day later he made it to New York City and this made his mission toescape from slavery, complete. After his escape, he married Murray. Theythought New York was not a safe place for Frederick to remain after escaping sothey decided to go to New Bedford, Massachusetts. They then had five children.
Douglass became a laborer and started attending the abolitionist meetings,sharing his slavery experiences. He became an agent for the MassachusettsAnti-Slavery Society. He spoke across the North and Midwest. In 1845, “Narrativeof the Life of Frederick Douglass” was published by Douglass, and prove thosewho doubted him being a fugitive, wrong.
He also gave speeches and sold copiesof his autobiography in Scotland, England, and Ireland. His official freedomwas bought out by abolitionist and he would then return to the U.S. officiallyfree. Him and his family then moved to Rochester New York.
He then joined thewomen’s right movement and helped with the underground railroad. He recruitedAfrican-American men to fight in the U.S. Army for the Civil war, even two ofhis sons. The war led get the 13th, 14th, and 15thamendments being passed. Douglass would move to Washington D.
C. after theRochester home was burnt and his sons were already living there. Afterreconstruction failed he served under five presidents as U.S. Marshal forD.C. In 1881, Douglass published “Lifeand Times of Frederick Douglass”, his third autobiography which gave a look ofwhat the work he has done, and what needs to be done.
In 1882, his wife Annadied from a stroke, but he then remarried to Helen Pitts. On February 20, 1895Douglass was about to give a speech at a local church in Cedar Hill when hedied from a heart attack. His funeral was at the Metropolitan African MethodistEpiscopal Church.
Thousands of people came. His coffin was taken back toRochester, New York, where lived for 25 years. He was buried next to his firstwife Anna in their family plot in the Mount Hope Cemetery, and in 1903 hissecond wife Helen was also buried there.