Frederick Douglass was born in Tuckahoe, Maryland, near Hillsborough. He doesn’t know for sure of his age, he has seen no proof and his master will not inform him. Most masters prefer for their slaves to stay ignorant. He believes that he was around twenty-seven and twenty-eight when he began writing his narrative – he overheard his master say he was about seventeen years of age during 1835. His mother, Harriet Bailey, was separated from him when he was an infant and she died when he was seven years old.
Frederick’s earliest memories were of his Aunt Hester, who was cruelly whipped by Frederick’s master for trying to protect Frederick from the same fate. Frederick would never see her again after that night.
His master, Captain Anthony, owned a large plantation and multiple slaves. Frederick was sent to live with Hugh Auld, a shipbuilder in Baltimore, Maryland when he was around seven or eight years old. It was here that Frederick began to learn how to read and write secretly with the help of Sophia Auld, Hugh’s wife. Sophia taught Frederick out of the kindness of her heart but once she realized what she was doing was against the law, she stopped abruptly. Frederick continued to teach himself how to read and write using newspapers and books he found around the city.
Frederick met and fell in love with Anna Murray, a free black woman who helped him escape to New York City in 1838. They were married soon after his escape and had five children together. Frederick continued his fight for freedom and equality by giving speeches about his life as a slave and working with abolitionist groups.
The slaveholders felt that an uneducated slave formed a choice slave and any learning would harm the slave, so it was pointless for his master. Frederick’s next step on the road to success occurred when he lived with Master Hugh’s family for seven years. On the street, Frederick made friends with as many white boys as he could. His new buddies would be transformed into instructors. To the hungry children, Frederick offered bread as a means of exchange for knowledge whenever he could.
Frederick became adept in various skills, including ship caulking and the ability to write. Frederick’s newfound skills would eventually lead to his escape from slavery.
Frederick had always been intrigued by ships and the ocean. One day, he heard two white men talking about a place called New York. Frederick was fascinated by the idea of this place and decided that he wanted to go there. In order to escape, Frederick knew that he needed money. He saved up his wages until he had enough to buy a sailboat ticket.
Frederick Douglass was an African-American who became a prominent abolitionist and writer. He served as a leader in the anti-slavery movement, which sought to abolish slavery, before and during the Civil War.
From 1841 until his death, he served as an agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society. His duty was to go around and give speeches, distribute pamphlets, and acquire subscribers to the Liberator. He also became a member of the American Anti-Slaavery Society in 1841.
At the time, it was considered very dangerous work as there was a lot of hostility towards abolitionists. Douglass’ first wife, Anna Murray-Douglass, was a free African American woman from Baltimore. They married in 1838 and had five children together.
In 1845, Frederick Douglass published his autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave”. The book was a huge success and helped to raise money for the abolitionist cause.
After the publication of his autobiography, Douglass became a well-known speaker and lecturer. He continued to travel and campaign against slavery. In 1849, he escaped from slavery and went to live in England.
Frederick heard the term abolitionists once or twice before, but it was a long time before he discovered what it meant. It was considered an act of abolition if a slave succeeded in escaping from his Master or performing a significant action such as burning down a barn or murdering him. One day while going on an errand, Frederick ran into two Irishmen who were toiling away very hard. Frederick assisted the Irishmen, and soon after they inquired whether he was enslaved. The men then told Frederick that he should run for his life to the north in order to discover friends and liberty. He has been fantasizing about this moment since then.
During his time under Master Thomas, he realized that his aspirations might be achieved. He didn’t try to flee, but he wishes he had because the chances of success were ten times higher from the city than from one of Frederick’s two masters, who was not a cruel slaveholder.
Frederick was routinely awakened by the screams of his own aunt, who was being beaten because she had been caught away from home for the night with a man. Slaves, when unhappy, sing songs to drown their sorrows. Frederick would frequently sing for this purpose rather than to convey his pleasure as some slaves do.
Frederick’s grandmother, Betty, was the only one he felt any sort of attachment to, and she died when Frederick was around seven years old. He did not know his father, and his mother died before he could form any memories of her. Frederick was separated from his siblings as well, which caused him much grief throughout his life.
Frederick’s first job as a slave was as a houseboy for Master Hugh’s family. He hated this job because it put him in close proximity to Miss Sophia, Master Hugh’s daughter, who would often abuse Frederick verbally and physically. One day, while Frederick was out running errands, Miss Sophia threw a rock at him and hit him in the head, causing him to bleed profusely.
When Frederick returned to the house, Miss Sophia claimed that he had hurt himself on purpose andMaster Hugh ordered Frederick to be whipped. Frederick was then sent to work in the fields, where he much preferred the company of the other slaves to that of the master’s family.
Frederick continued working in the fields until he was around twelve years old, when he was sent to Baltimore to work as a ship caulker with Mr. Hugh Auld, Master Thomas’ brother-in-law. It was here that Frederick began learning to read and write, which were activities strictly forbidden for slaves. Frederick’s new mistress, Mrs. Auld, initially taught him these things herself before realizing that it was against the law.