The African-American
social reformer, abolitionist, and writer Frederick Douglass was born on
February 1818 in Talbot County, Maryland. We do not know the exact date of his
birth, but he chose to celebrate it on February 14th. Douglass was
born into slavery. His plantation was between the cities of Cordova and
Hillsboro. Douglass had a hard time as a kid. He didn’t really know his mom and
she then died when Douglass was still a young boy. He then went to live with
his maternal grandmother, but soon was separated from her too. He then went to
the Wye house plantation to work for Aaron Anthony. While he was in Baltimore
he taught himself how to read and write due to the fact slaves could not go to
school and weren’t even supposed to be teaching themselves. When he died, he
was 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 the
alphabet but then, Hugh Auld disapproved, so he had to take it into his own
matters to observe and teach himself how to read and write, but he had to do
this without anyone finding out or he would have been punished. He started to
question slavery after reading pamphlets, newspapers, and other things. When
Douglass was sent to William Freeland he taught other slaves how to read
weekly. They got away with it for almost more than half a year but were then
barged in on and caught. Thomas Auld sent Douglass to “slave-breaker”
Edward Covey. He whipped Douglass on a regular basis and almost “broke” him. Douglass
kept 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 from
slavery twice already failing both times. In 1837, Douglass met his future wife
Anna Murray, a black woman that was free in Baltimore. This influenced him to
get his own freedom. On September 3, 1838, he disguised himself as a sailor and
got on a train headed north while using money from Murray to get his ticket. Just
less than a day later he made it to New York City and this made his mission to
escape from slavery, complete. After his escape, he married Murray. They
thought New York was not a safe place for Frederick to remain after escaping so
they 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 Massachusetts
Anti-Slavery Society. He spoke across the North and Midwest. In 1845, “Narrative
of the Life of Frederick Douglass” was published by Douglass, and prove those
who doubted him being a fugitive, wrong. He also gave speeches and sold copies
of his autobiography in Scotland, England, and Ireland. His official freedom
was bought out by abolitionist and he would then return to the U.S. officially
free. Him and his family then moved to Rochester New York. He then joined the
women’s right movement and helped with the underground railroad. He recruited
African-American men to fight in the U.S. Army for the Civil war, even two of
his sons. The war led get the 13th, 14th, and 15th
amendments being passed. Douglass would move to Washington D.C. after the
Rochester home was burnt and his sons were already living there. After
reconstruction failed he served under five presidents as U.S. Marshal for
D.C.  In 1881, Douglass published “Life
and Times of Frederick Douglass”, his third autobiography which gave a look of
what the work he has done, and what needs to be done. In 1882, his wife Anna
died from a stroke, but he then remarried to Helen Pitts. On February 20, 1895
Douglass was about to give a speech at a local church in Cedar Hill when he
died from a heart attack. His funeral was at the Metropolitan African Methodist
Episcopal Church. Thousands of people came. His coffin was taken back to
Rochester, New York, where lived for 25 years. He was buried next to his first
wife Anna in their family plot in the Mount Hope Cemetery, and in 1903 his
second wife Helen was also buried there. 


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