Frederick Douglass 

Frederick Douglass was a famous escaped slave, abolitionist and suffragist. His memoirs, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass was an instant success, as were his lectures in America and abroad; arguably the most famous of which was the speech 'What to the Slave is the Fourth of July'.

Frederick Douglass also advised President Lincoln, was appointed Recorder of the Deed by President Garfield, and Minister Resident to the Republic of Haiti by President Harrison.

See below to learn more about Frederick Douglass.
Date of Birth and Parents:
Frederick Douglass was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey to Harriet Bailey in c.1818. Whilst he knew little about his father other than that he was white, he had heard rumours that his father was his master, Captain Aaron Anthony. As his mother was sent away when he was less than a year old, Frederick Douglass was raised by his grandmother until seven or eight, when he was sent to live with Hugh Auld, the brother of his master's son in law.

Date of Death:
Frederick Douglass was to give a lecture at Hillside African Church after he had attended sessions of the Women's Council earlier in the day, but died of a heart attack in the hallway of his house, Cedar Hill, on 20 February 1895. His eulogy was written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and read by Susan B Anthony.

Spouse and Children:
Frederick Douglass married laundress Anna Murray in 1838 and had five children with her. Two years after her death in 1882, Frederick Douglass remarried a white woman named Helen Pitts. This cause outrage as interacial marriage was not well received at the time.

Hugh Auld's wife, Sophia, taught Frederick Douglass the alphabet until discovered by her husband. However, after seven years, Douglass learnt to read without his mistress' further tutelage by trading bread to poor white children in return for impromptu reading lessons, and learnt to write by secretly using his young master's copy book.

Trade and Escape:
Frederick Douglass earned a good wage as an apprentice caulker in his teenage years; the knowledge of boats and sailing terminology assisted him in his escape to New York in 1838 dressed as a sailor. The clothing was providing to him by laundress and future wife Anna Murray.

The North Star:
Frederick Douglass spent a great deal of time touring and giving lectures against slavery, and even toured England and Ireland in 1845. It was here that supporters raised enough money to purchase his freedom and also a printing press so that he could publish his own abolitionist paper; The North Star. The paper reached other English speaking nations such as Australia and Canada, but the North Star accrued so much debt that Frederick Douglass had to remortgage his house.

Suffrage and The Fifteenth Amendment:
Frederick Douglass promoted women's suffrage in his paper and gave an eloquent and captivating speech in favour of women's rights at the Seneca Fall Convention in 1848. However, Douglass later disagreed with suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton over The Fifteenth Amendment after the Civil War. Whilst he believed that women deserved the right to vote and that the world would be all the better for it, he also felt that there was not enough support to carry through the amendment Stanton desired.

Of the opinion that petitioning the wording to include women may injure both causes, Frederick Douglass supported The Fifteenth Amendment, which only gave African American men the ability to vote. Though this upset several suffragists with whom Frederick Douglass had been aligned, like many other abolitionists, he reasoned that if at least African-American men were given rights, women of both races would be in a position to influence the men that could vote.

Frederick Douglass' best work considered by many is the speech known as 'What to the Slave is the 4th of July' in 1852, however, he had given numerous famous speeches throughout his life, all of which demonstrated his formidable skills as an orator.

The Underground Railroad and John Brown:

In 1859, his friend, John Brown, asked for assistance on the raid on Harper's ferry, which Frederick Douglass declined believing that the raid would negatively impact the cause though he was happy to assist the escaped slaves. Fearing that he would be considered an accomplice when the raid failed, he fled to Canada using the Underground Railroad under the advisement of abolitionist Amy Post and others.

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