Learn about Frederick Douglass.

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was born into slavery around 1818 in Maryland.  He was taught the alphabet by the wife of one of his slave masters. She abruptly stopped when her husband found out and scolded her on the importance of not teaching enslaved people how to read. From this experience, Frederick realized the importance of literacy and taught himself to read and write. He was soon teaching other enslaved people. In 1838, he escaped slavery with the help of Anna Murray. The two were later married. They settled in New York and had five children. After his escape, he came under the tutelage of William Lloyd Garrison who encouraged him to become an orator. Much of his life was spent traveling around the United States and Europe giving speeches on slavery, and later on women’s suffrage. He also wrote five autobiographies, including his most famous; the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. In his first autobiography, he released the name of his slave master. Since he was still enslaved according to the law, he fled to Europe to prevent being captured. He returned almost 2 years later after a group of European friends purchased his freedom from his old master. During his life of activism, he started the North Star, an abolitionist newspaper, held many official positions, and much to his amusement was invited to the White House by Abraham Lincoln to give advice on the direction of the civil war and slavery. Towards the end of Frederick’s life, after Anna had died, he married a white woman named, Helen Pitts, which sparked lots of controversy due to her race. He died February 20, 1895, from a heart attack after returning home from attending a conference for women’s rights.

The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site can be visited in Washington DC. Link  

It also provides an activity book for kids:

Book Recommendation

“A Picture Book of Frederick Douglass” by David A. Adler is a kid’s biography of Frederick Douglass that contains the details of his life.


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