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The African-American social reformer, abolitionist, and writer Frederick Douglass were 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. WhenDouglass 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 Anne 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 MassachusettsAnti-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. He and his family then moved to Rochester New York. He then joined the women’s rights 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 to getting the 13th, 14th, and 15thamendments 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 forD.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, 1895Douglass 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 MethodistEpiscopal 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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