As one of the most famous and respected black abolitionist leaders of the 19th century, Frederick Douglass inspired many people through his courage and determination
Frederick Bailey was born a slave in February 1818 on Holmes Hill Farm in Maryland. As a child he recognized that the ability to read and write could be his pathway to freedom. Through the tutelage of his "unsuspecting" mistress he garnered these skills, and eventually used them to escape his bondage. He landed at approximately this location, on the shores of New York City on September 4, 1838. To avert the attention of the slave catchers he changed his name to Frederick Douglass and found work as a common laborer in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
In three decades prior to the Civil War, Frederick Douglas impassioned by the abolitionist movement, soon became known as one of America's premiere champions of freedom for the oppressed. As a major station master for the Underground Railroad, he provided sanctuary to hundreds of runaway slaves. He gained world fame when his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave was published in 1845. Two tears later he began publication of The North Star, an antislavery newspaper. As editor of the nation's best known African-American newspaper, he freely
attacked the system of slavery with all the powers of his intellect. On July 28, 1848 after attending the Woman's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, The North Star carried this quote:
"Standing as we do upon the watch-tower of human freedom, we cannot be deterred from an expression of our approbation of any movement, however, humble, to improve and elevate the character and condition of any members of the human family."
On January 1, 1863, his efforts, along with those of fellow abolitionists were acknowledged with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. By war's end, over 200,000 blacks had fought for their freedom. And by the spring of 1870, with the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment, African Americans had attained the right to vote.
In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison appointed Frederick Douglass Minister to Haiti. Frederick Douglass died on February 20, 1895 in Washington, D.C. His legacy as a champion of human rights lives on, and serves as a continued source of inspiration in the pursuit of equality.
Right is of no Sex - Truth is of no Color - God if the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren."
Slogan of The North Star Newspaper, published in Rochester, NY from 1845-51, Frederick Douglass, Editor