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Frederick Douglass

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Frederick Douglass was one of the foremost leaders of the abolitionist movement, which fought to end slavery within the United States in the decades prior to the Civil War. A brilliant speaker, Douglass was asked by the American Anti-Slavery Society to engage in a tour of lectures, and so became recognized as one of America's first great black speakers. He won world fame when his autobiography was publicized in 1845. Two years later he bagan publishing an antislavery paper called the North Star.

Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in 1819 on a Talbot County, Maryland plantation. At the age of eight he was sent to Baltimore as a house servant. Frederick was grossly mistreated. To keep from starving, on many occasions, he competed with his master's dogs for table scraps and bones. . In 1825, he was sent to serve as a houseboy in the home of Hugh and Sophia Auld in Baltimore. Mrs Auld grew fond of him and sought to teach him to read and write. But when her husband discovered the deed she was doing he put it to a stop, because it was unlawful to teach slaves how to read, Frederick took it upon himself to learn. He made the neighborhood boys his teachers, by giving away his food in exchange for lessons in reading and writing. At about the age of twelve, Douglass purchased a copy of The Columbian Orator, a popular schoolbook at the time, which helped him to gain an understanding and appreciation of the power of the spoken and the written word. During his time in the South he was severely flogged for his resistance to slavery.

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In his early teens he began to teach in a Sunday school which was later forcibly shut down by hostile whites. The lessons he learned about the evils of slavery and his hatred of the institution was deepened during his stay with Thomas Auld. Determined to crush the spirit of young Frederick, Thomas Auld hired him out to Edward Covey, a slave breaker who worked and whipped him mercilessly. He endured the mistreatment until one day he could stand it no longer and fought back. On January 1, 1836, Douglass made a resolution that he would be free by the end of the year. He planned an escape. But early in April he was jailed after his plan was discovered. Two years later, while living in Baltimore and working at a shipyard, Douglass would finally fled the city on September 3, 1838. Douglas, dressed in a sailor's uniform and carrying identification papers provided by a free Black seaman, and managed to reach New York City Travelling by train, then steamboat, then train, he arrived in New York City the following day. Several weeks later he had settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts, living with his newlywed bride whom he met in Baltimore and married in New York under his new name, Frederick Douglass. . Frederick changed his surname from Bailey to Douglass, married Anna Murray, and the couple moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts. Always striving to educate himself, Douglass continued his reading. He joined various organizations in New Bedford, including a black church. He attended Abolitionists' meetings. He subscribed to William Lloyd Garrison's weekly journal, the Liberator. In 1841, he saw Garrison speak at the Bristol Anti-Slavery Society's annual meeting. Douglass was inspired by the

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speaker, later stating, "no face and form ever impressed me with such sentiments the hatred of slavery as did those of William Lloyd Garrison." In the presence of some of the most prominent Abolitionists, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and William Collins, Douglass told his story, and he was immediately urged to become an Anti-Slavery lecturer. Douglass was asked to become a lecturer for the Society for three years. It was the launch of a career that would continue throughout Douglass' long life. Douglass quickly became a nationally recognized figure among abolitionists. In 1845 he bravely published his Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, which related his experiences as a slave, revealed his fugitive status and further exposed him to the danger of reenslavement. . His freedom was jeopardized by the detailed documentation presented in his book, Douglass fled to England and remained overseas for two years. With the financial aid of his European friends, Douglass returned

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