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San Domenico School

Frederick Douglass: From Slavery to Freedom & Greatness

Photo of a young Frederick Douglass

Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born to a slave mother and a white father he never knew. He escaped in 1838, married a free colored woman in New York City, and moved to an abolitionist atmosphere at New Bedford, Massachusetts.

There he began his remarkable career as an influential orator and agent of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. In 1845 he published the chilling and very personal, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, which was subsequently greatly enlarged. The impact of this autobiography greatly influenced others to take up the fight to abolish slavery in America. After visiting England and Ireland, where he was lionized, he returned in 1847 with enough funds to publish his newspaper, North Star, which not only demanded immediate emancipation but also women’s suffrage and other liberal causes.

As a friend of John Brown, he narrowly escaped arrest for conspiracy and when the Civil War came, he helped to arouse the Union forces to the fact that abolition was the real issue. Lincoln counseled with him on race questions and postwar presidents rewarded him with various honors such as the minister to Haiti.

(Taken from the website, From Revolution to Reconstruction, http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/B/fdouglas/doug01.htm )

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