Guide Frederick Douglass: A Biography

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The lack of books about this iconic figure is mostly due to the fact that Douglass himself wrote three great autobiographies, thus reducing the need for more books about his life. Yet, scholars have recently written a number of new books that are worth exploring. These books cover everything from his personal life to his literary work and even the people around Douglass who influenced who he came to be. These books are best-sellers on the topic, they have great reviews on sites like Amazon and Goodreads and they received great reviews from critics.

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Who Was Frederick Douglass?

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. The book chronicles his childhood, his few memories of his mother and his family, his move to Baltimore where he learned to write and read, his time as a slave and his escape from bondage. The book quickly became a best seller, selling 5, copies within four months of publication. By , it had sold 30, copies. The book received positive reviews when it was published. On June 10, , the New York Times published a front-page review praising the book:.

After the book was published, Douglass had to flee the country to avoid being recaptured by his owner and lived in England and Ireland for two years.

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Douglass was eventually able to purchase his freedom with funds raised by his supporters. The book was reprinted in and again in , with a total of 18, copies printed.

Douglass explained that, for these reasons, he refused to provide these details when slavery still existed and then felt that after slavery was abolished there was no reason to discuss it. While there, Douglass also raised the funds necessary to start his own anti-slavery newspaper upon his return to the United States.


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By February , Douglass began to move his family to Rochester. In September of that year the first issue of the New National Era was published. Frederick Douglass was first and foremost an abolitionist and civil rights activist. Fighting against his own slavery from his earliest youth, he continued to fight against the institution of slavery until its abolition.

He spoke and lectured widely for the cause throughout the s and s. In , and , he organized his own series of lectures in Rochester. He wrote a novella entitled The Heroic Slave , an abolitionist work of fiction published in in Autographs for Freedom. The Autographs for Freedom was sold as a fundraiser for anti-slavery activities. In addition to advocating abolition in his lectures and in his publications, Douglass became active in the Underground Railroad , and was instrumental in shepherding many fugitive slaves to Canada.

He was forced to escape to Canada in October to avoid the possibility of repercussions in the heated atmosphere following the raid.


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He was assisted in his escape by Amy and Isaac Post , dear friends and fellow anti-slavery advocates. Douglass sailed from Canada to England in November , lecturing against slavery there. His return to Rochester was spurred by the tragic death of his youngest daughter Annie, on March 13, He supported passage of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments , and lectured widely for their adoption.

In later years, he would speak out against the increased lynchings of African-Americans. Nell, and William C. Bloss advocated the emancipation of women from all the artificial disabilities, imposed by false customs, creeds, and codes. He also attended and spoke at that meeting. Anthony and her family, and often visited the Anthony home. Anthony and Stanton refused to support the Fifteenth Amendment because it excluded women.

Douglass, on the other hand, believed with many abolitionists that it was important to secure the rights of African-American males before working to achieve the rights of women. Their argument was both public and private, and there was resentment and hurt on both sides. In , publication of the New National Era was discontinued. When Douglass took over the bank was already failing and it declared bankruptcy within months after he assumed the presidency.

During his tenure in Washington, D. From to , he served as U. Marshall for the District of Columbia under the administration of President Hayes. He was the U. Minister to Haiti under President Harrison, and served in this post from to Several of the women present at this convention were welcomed at his home.

Douglass was also present at the International Council of Women, held in ; there he was introduced to the audience by Susan B. Pitts was a graduate of Mount Holyoke Seminary. While living in Washington, D. But early in April he was jailed after his plan was discovered.

SparkNotes: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Two years later, while living in Baltimore and working at a shipyard, Douglass would finally realize his dream: he fled the city on September 3, 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.

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. Douglass was inspired by the speaker, later stating, "no face and form ever impressed me with such sentiments [the hatred of slavery] as did those of William Lloyd Garrison. Several days later Douglass gave his speech at the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society's annual convention in Nantucket-- the speech described at the top of this page.

Of the speech, one correspondent reported, "Flinty hearts were pierced, and cold ones melted by his eloquence. It was the launch of a career that would continue throughout Douglass' long life. Despite apprehensions that the information might endanger his freedom, Douglass published his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written By Himself. The year was Three years later, after a speaking tour of England, Ireland, and Scotland, Douglass published the first issue of the North Star , a four-page weekly, out of Rochester, New York.