Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)
MSA SC 3520-13800
Born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, February 1818, in Talbot County, Maryland. Son of African-American Harriet Bailey and a white father. Married first wife Anna Murray on September 15, 1838 in New York City; five children were Rosetta (b. June 24, 1839), Lewis Henry (b. October 9, 1840), Frederick, Jr. (b. March 3, 1842), Charles Remond (b. October 21, 1844), and Anna Marie "Annie" (b. March 22, 1849). Married second wife Helen Pitts. Died in Washington, D.C., February 20, 1895. Buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York.
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1818. As a young man he escaped from slavery and settled in Rochester, New York, where he published the North Star and Frederick Douglass' Paper, worked to assist other runaway slaves to find freedom and became known for his passionate and eloquent speaking on the brutality of slavery. Through his newspaper he reported on the anti-slavery movement to Northerners. He worked with such abolitionists and social reformers as William Lloyd Garrison, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, John Brown, and Gerrit Smith.
With the Civil War looming after John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, Virginia, Douglass was forced to leave the country in order to avoid arrest. After a while he returned to become a staunch advocate of the Union cause. He helped recruit African-American troops for the Union Army, and two of his own sons served in the all-black 54th Massachusetts Regiment. He developed a personal relationship with President Lincoln that helped to make emancipation a cause of the Civil War.
In 1872, Douglass moved to Washington, D.C., where he served as publisher of the New National Era, a newspaper advocating African-American improvement. Douglass also served briefly as President of the Freedmen's National Bank, and subsequently in various national service positions such as U.S. Marshal for the District of Columbia, and diplomatic positions in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Douglass' papers and other materials are held at the Frederick Douglass National Historical Site.
Return to Frederick Douglass's Introductory Page
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