Frederick Douglass was a United States abolitionist, journalist, lecturer, who escaped slavery and urged other blacks to do likewise before and during the American Civil War. As a forceful and eloquent orator and a writer of inspiring prose, he was probably emancipation in the 19th century. Frederick Douglass conceived of freedom for blacks note merely as the abolition of slavery but also as their advancement in social and economic status. He saw the black cause as part of a broad struggle to advance human rights for all people, and thus was a strong supporter of woman suffrage.
The purpose of this paper is to know the life of Frederick Douglass and be aware of his contributions and importance to our history. II. Discussion A. Who is Frederick Douglass? Frederick Augustus Washington bailey was born in February 1817 in Tuckahoe, Maryland. His father was a white man; his mother, a black slave named Harriet Bailey. As a young boy, he worked for a time as a house servant in Baltimore, Maryland. His mistress, a Northerner, taught him a little of reading and writing. Later, he was put to work in the fields and then in the Baltimore shipyards.
He was often treated cruelty for his resistance to slavery, and he was determined to be free. “I wish myself a beast, a bird, anything rather than a salve,” he said. Poor treatment instilled in him a hatred of slavery; he failed in an attempt to escape in 1836. But two years later, in 1838, he escaped from slavery and settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he changed his name from Bailey to Douglass. He was largely self-educated and in 1841, he joined the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society.
B. His contributions and importance At an abolitionist meeting of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in Nantucket, he made his first public speech and related his slave experiences, and for the next four years, despite many indignities, he lectured throughout the East for antislavery groups. His audience was deeply moved by the tall young man’s story. From then on Douglass became a leader in the antislavery cause and became one of the abolitionist movement’s most effective public speakers.
Moreover, his speeches in the following years in the northern states and his works for the Underground Railroad did much to further the cause of the abolitionists and made his name a symbol of freedom and achievement among whites and blacks alike. So impressive were Frederick Douglass’ oratorical and intellectual abilities that opponents refused to believe he had been a slave and alleged that he was an impostor foisted on the public by abolitionist.
To answer doubters that he had ever been a slave, he wrote an autobiography in 1845, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave—which he revised in later years, in final form, it appeared in 1882 under the title Life and Times of Frederick Douglass—which revealed his master’s identity and endangered Douglass’ liberty. In the same year, the tall, handsome, and articulate Douglass, at the urging of his friends, went to England to escape the danger of seizure under the fugitive slave laws.
His lectures in the British Isles on the slavery question in the United States aroused sympathy for the abolitionists’ cause and prompted his admirers to raise funds to purchase his freedom. After returning to the United States in 1847, Douglass became the “station-master and conductor’ of the Underground Railroad in Rochester, New York where for 17 years he published and established an antislavery and abolitionist newspaper North Sta r—it also supported women’s rights, a cause that Douglass championed from his participation in the first women’s rights convention in 1848—which he edited until 1860.
Moreover, he gradually broke with William Lloyd Garrison’s “moral suasionist” policy and became a political abolitionist, ultimately supporting the Republican Party. In addition, during these years, Frederick Douglass became friendly with the American abolitionist John Brown and was given a hint of Brown’s strategy of destroying “the money value of slave property” by training a force of men to help large numbers of slaves escape to freedom in the North via the Underground Railroad. In other words, he used his lecture fees to aid fugitive slaves and headed the Rochester station of the Underground Railroad.
He was forced by a lack of funds to abandon his scheme for an industrial college for Negroes. Despite his opposition to the Harpers Ferry raid, Douglass Fled to Canada because he had raised money for the ventures of his friend and confidant John Brown.
When Frederick Douglass learned on the eve of the raid on Harper’s Ferry in 1859 that it was Brown’s intention to seize the federal arsenal there, he objected warning Brown that an attack on the arsenal would be tantamount to an assault on the U. S. government and would prove disastrous, Douglass withdrew from further participation. After the raid, fearing reprisals by the government, Frederick Douglass fled to Europe, where he stayed for six months. On his return to the United States, he campaigned for Abraham Lincoln during the presidential for Abraham Lincoln during the presidential election of 1860 and, following the outbreak of the Civil War, helped raise two regiments of black soldiers, fought for enactment of the 13th , 14th, and 15th Amendments of the United States Constitution.
He became United States marshal for the District of Columbia (1877-81), recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia (1881-86), and United States minister to Haiti (1889-91). He died in Washington, D. C. on February 20, 1895. Furthermore, he was able to write other memoirs, My Bondage and My Freedom (1855) and Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881). III. Conclusion In conclusion, Frederick Douglass is truly an important personality in the history of United States because his experiences become an eye-opener to those people who abuse and those people who are abused.
He fights for equality and freedom of the slaves and thanks to him because if not of his braveness, maybe up to now, slavery continues. He never withholds himself to speak up in spite of the fact that his life is at stake. Many people, especially those who are in the government, do not like what they hear from Douglass yet he continues to seek liberty for the blacks. He awakens the “deep-sleep” Blacks that it is about time to live freely and enjoy the privileges as citizen of the country.
1. Brewton, Vince (2005). “Bold Defiance Took Its Place”-“Respect” and Self- Making in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. The Mississippi Quarterly, Vol. 58. 2. Connery, William S. (2003). Proud Lion of Baltimore – the Life and Legacy of Frederick Douglass. World and I, Vol. 18. 3. Horton, Lois E. (2001). Radical Passion: Ottilie Assing’s Reports from America and Letters to Frederick Douglass. American Studies International, Vol. 39. 4. Scott, Neil (1999). An Alliance between Two Giants: Frederick Douglass Turns from Critic to Adviser, Friend of Abraham Lincoln. The Washington Times.