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Frederick Douglass

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Douglass, Frederick (Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey; 1817?–95), U.S. abolitionist, orator, and political activist who dedicated his life to the eradication of slavery and support for black rights. Born into slavery in Tuckahoe, Md., he was sent to work in Baltimore (1826), were he educated himself with the assistance of a slave master's wife. At the age of 20, he escaped and assumed the name of Douglass to avoid being identified. In 1841 Douglass began lecturing for the Massachusetts Antislavery Society and throughout the 1840s protested against segregation. He spoke on trains and in churches, and, in some cases, had to be physically removed from passenger trains. His autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass was published in 1845 (he later revised this work in two addional publcations—My Bondage and My Freedom (1855) and Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881). Fearing reprisal for the publication, Douglass moved to England where he continued his struggle against prejudice. In 1847 he returned to the United States and established the anti-slavery newspaper, North Star, in Rochester, N.Y. His home in Rochester became a stop on the Underground Railroad, among the network of homes and hiding places that aided slaves in their escape to freedom. During the Civil War (1861–65), he encouraged blacks to join the Union Army. He also had several meetings with President Abraham Lincoln to discuss the issue of slavery. He later served as a U.S. minister to Haiti (1889–91).

See also: Abolitionism.

Doukhobors [next] [back] William Orville Douglas

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