||Frederick (Bailey) Douglass is a part of Black history.|
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Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey) was an African-American social reformer, orator, writer, and statesman. He was born into slavery but escaped to become a leader in the abolitionist movement. Douglass' best-known work is his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, published in 1845.
Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born into slavery circa 1818 in Talbot County, Maryland. He was separated from his mother, Harriet Bailey, when he was an infant. She died when Frederick was seven. Frederick originally stated that he was told his father was a white man, perhaps his owner, Aaron Anthony. He said he knew nothing of his father's identity. Frederick lived with his maternal grandmother, Betty Bailey until he was eight. His first owner died and Frederick was separated from his grandmother, going to live with Thomas Auld. It would be a briefly positive move for Frederick, as it would connect him with Sophia Auld, Thomas' sister-in-law, who, despite the disapproval of her husband, taught Frederick how to read and write. Once Sophia was no longer able to continue his lessons, Frederick would barter with people on the streets to learn more and continue his education.
At fifteen, he was taken away from Baltimore to be "tamed" at the cruel hands of Edward Covey. Frederick eventually attacked Covey, in order to survive and in hopes that Covey would back off. After failed escape attempts in the backwoods, Auld returned to take Frederick back to Baltimore and promised to free him after seven years. Late in Auld's life, Frederick visited to his bedside to make sure Auld knew he was forgiven and that it was slavery he abhorred, not the man himself.
Frederick boarded a train in Baltimore in 1838 and escaped north to freedom dressed in a sailor’s uniform stitched by his fiancée, a free woman, Anna Murray. His escape route on the Underground Railroad would take him to New York; Newport, Rhode Island; and finally to New Bedford, Massachusetts. He received the help of Nathan and Polly Johnson, well-known African American abolitionists in Massachusetts.
Once in Massachusetts, Frederick changed his surname to Douglass in honor of a Walter Scott poem, and along with his bride Anna, began their life together. They had five children together, including three sons who served in the Civil War. 
Frederick quickly became a favorite abolitionist and anti-slavery speaker, traveling throughout the country and around the world to reveal the horrors of slavery, that “peculiar institution.” He used his personal experience to give a human face to the sufferings of slavery. His celebrity made him one of the most photographed men of the nineteenth century.
Later, when he moved to Rochester, New York, his print shop was a depot on the Underground Railroad. Frederick was outspoken for women's rights, and in 1848 at Seneca Falls when Elizabeth Cady Stanton launched the women's movement, his speech was instrumental in the passage of a resolution asking for women's suffrage. He was often at odds with the movement, though, as he viewed women as a minority, whereas Stanton believed them an ignored majority. 
In 1895, Frederick attended a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, D.C., where he was brought to a platform and given a standing ovation by the audience. Right after he returned home, Frederick Douglass died, on February 20, 1895, of a massive heart attack in his adopted hometown of Washington, D.C. He is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York. He was a prominent member of Metropolitan AME church in the District.
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Categories: Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, New York | African-American Notables | Talbot County, Maryland, Slaves | US Ambassadors to Haiti | Free Persons of Color in Washington, DC | Underground Railroad | United States, Authors | Example Profiles of the Week | Abolitionists | US Black Heritage Project Managed Profiles | Notables | Activists and Reformers