Frederick Douglass

By Nathaniel Wolff


Did you know that Frederick Douglass may have been the most famous African American of all time? He lived with absolutely no education in his early life, but became one of the most intelligent abolitionists later in life! How did this happen? Read to find out.

Early Life

Frederick Douglass’s early life was hard for him but gave him the inspiration he needed to grow up and fight for slave emancipation. To begin, Frederick Douglass was born Frederick Bailey in February 1818 in Talbot County, Maryland. His mother was Harriet Bailey but his father is not known, but it is known that his master, Aaron Anthony may have been his father . Nearly as soon as he was born, Frederick was taken from his mother so she could work and given to his Grandmother to be raised. He barely knew his mother and she died when he was ten. He had a nice life there, playing with the other children. Then when he was six, Bailey was brought back to the plantation where he was born to work with the other slaves. As he worked, his white masters noticed that there was something special about Frederick and gave him extra things. Eventually, Frederick was sent away by his master’s daughter to be a servant to one of their family members. In Baltimore, he worked for Hugh Auld, his master’s brother to take care of his son and run errands. He got an education there from the other boys he was friends with.Some time later , he was taken back to his legal owner, who rented him out. At his other owner’s home, he actually fought a whipping, something slaves could never do. He was about to become who he is known as today.

Adult Life

Frederick Douglass’s childhood had been hard, but it was about to pay off with freedom. Frederick Bailey was sent back to Auld after a year, and was rented out again to a kind master, William Freeland. He fed his slaves well and did not usually whip them. The work was still hard, but the conditions were better. He found two of his brothers there, and lots of new friends. When Freeland rented him for another year, Bailey decided to try and escape. He then gets his brothers to escape with him, but he is given away and taken to jail with the rest of the plotters. Then they were going to be sold again, but he is returned by his owner to Baltimore, where he learns a trade. He learns how to caulk ships, and saves some of the money that he earns. Frederick then finds a wife, Anna Bailey. Soon after, his master does not get his payment and was going to take back Frederick. So he and his wife to be had to escape at that moment. To escape, he got Seaman's papers from a friend and boards a train to escape. Then he escapes over the Susquehanna River, across a train and into freedom. When he made it to New York City, he sent for his wife, and then they were married.They had five children together.She was his wife for 44 until she died, when Douglass re-married to Helen Pitts, his second wife. Before he left for New Bedford, Frederick changed his last name to Douglass to avoid the Aulds. Then they went to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where there were no slave catchers. He then gets a job there. Soon after, Frederick finds a man named William Lloyd Garrison who is an abolitionist. Frederick then decides to try his hardest to try and abolish slavery. He gives many speeches and writes some books to try and get rid of slavery forever. As an abolitionist, he always gave speeches to the public. However, sometimes angry mobs showed up. Once when he was giving a speech, a mob tried to kill him, but luckily only broke his right hand. Frederick Douglass had a very productive adult life, which contributed widely to the emancipation of all the slaves.

Major Accomplishments

Frederick Douglass had many major accomplishments throughout his life that affected racial equality immensely. Some say that he is the most famous African American of his time. He gave many speeches to emancipate the slaves, and was the author of many books too. Douglass also gave many speeches everywhere around the country to stop slavery forever in the United States. Many people agreed with him, or were convinced that the slaves must be set free. Even when he was attacked, he still continued to speak to all to destroy slavery. Another special accomplishment was that he was very brave and never stopped believing that slavery could be abolished. Frederick never ever gave up, even when the whole other half of the country was opposed to him during the Civil War. Frederick Douglass tried very hard to abolish slavery, which was a terrible thing. Some say he awakened the conscience of America and made a large step in abolishing slavery. Others say that no slave had gotten as far as he had in his lifetime. The entire United States had been changed by his words of wisdom. Douglass had not broken the walls of segregation, but had knocked down many bricks. How Frederick Douglass changed the world is with his amazing speeches and books. They gave him world fame in two other countries! When his friends believed that his ex-owner would create trouble because of his fame, so they sent him to Europe, respectively England and Ireland, and said speeches there. Frederick Douglass’s major accomplishments were very excellent and were very important in the fight against slavery.


Douglass had given the United States lots of inspiration to abolish slavery. He died of either a heart attack or stroke on February 20, 1895. He gave a speech in Washington D.C that day and was dead by the end of it. He died shortly after he got home. Frederick Douglass was an excellent person who is worthy of his fame and should be remembered forever. If he were still alive today, he would be very proud about the racial equality in America and all the work he did to help the racial dream come true.

Works Cited

The Frederick Douglass You Never Knew

James LincolnCollier - Greg Copeland - Children's Press - 200

Frederick Douglass Timeline." Frederick Douglass Timeline. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar.


"Frederick Douglass." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 18 Mar.