Frederick Douglass


On an unknown date in 1817, on a slave plantation in Tuckahoe Maryland,
Frederick August Washington Bailey was born. Frederick was raised in a house on
the plantation with all the other slave children. At the age of seven, like
many other slaves, Frederick was put to work in the fields. As a young child he
would wonder why he was a slave, and why everyone can\'t be equal. His thoughts
frequently came back to him, leaving him with a great hatred for slavery. In
1836, Frederick had finally had enough of his imprisonment, and attempted an
escape with many other slaves. The escape was not successful, Frederick and the
other slaves were sent to work in a shipyard hauling crates. Frederick worked
the shipyard for two years until he had another great escape idea, this one
would work though. The sailing papers of a sailor had been borrowed, and
disguised as a sailor, Frederick Douglass made his escape to New Bedford,
Massachusetts. Upon his arrival, Frederick took up his new assumed last name
Douglass, to escape being captured. In 1841, Frederick attended an anti-slavery
convention in Nantucket Massachusetts. Here, his impromptu speech he gave
showed him to be a great speaker. The opponents of Frederick believed that he
was never a slave, because of his great speaking skills and knowledge. In
response to this, Frederick wrote his life story in his book _Life and Times of
Frederick Douglass_. Frederick made a fatal mistake though, he had used the name
of his old master on the slave plantation. Upon learning of this, his old master
sent slave catchers to New England to bring him back. Fearing a life of slavery
again, Frederick fled to England. Here in England, he gave many lectures on the
abolitionists movement, and earned sufficient funds to buy his freedom in
America. In 1847, Frederick became the "station master" of the Underground
Railroad in Rochester, New York. Here he also began publishing his anti-slavery
newspaper, The North Star. During these publishing years, Frederick became good
friends with John Brown. John had a vision of training groups of men to help
slaves escape via the Underground Railroad. However, in 1859, Douglass learned
it was Brown\'s intention to raid the Federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. He was
sure this would bring disastrous results, and took no part in the raid.
Following the raid, Douglass fled to Europe, fearing the government would hold
him responsible for what had happened. He stayed for six months, until finally
returning to America to campaign for Abraham Lincoln during the Presidential
election of 1860. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Frederick helped raise the
regiment of the Massachusetts 54th. This group of soldiers fought hard, and
Douglass was respected as a leader of ex-slaves. Frederick soon fought for the
13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments for the U.S. Constitution, which gave rights to
everyone. He became U.S marshal for the District of Columbia (1877-81),
recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia (1881-86) and U.S. minister to
the Republic of Haiti (1889-91). After his death in 1895, people mourned the
loss of one of the great freedom fighters of the 1800\'s.

Category: Social Issues