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Frederick Douglass Biography

Frederick Douglass

Facts of Frederick Douglass

Date of Birth: 1818 , February
Date of Death: 1895 , February-20
Birth Nation: United States
Name Frederick Douglass
Birth Name Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey
Nationality American
Birth Place/City Cordova, Maryland, United States
Ethnicity Black
Profession Writer, Abolitionist, Orator
Hair Color Black
Face Color Black
Married to Helen Pitts Douglass (m. 1884–1895), Anna Murray-Douglass (m. 1838–1882)
Children Rosetta Douglass, Lewis Henry Douglass, Charles Remond Douglass, Annie Douglass, Frederick Douglass, Jr.
Died February 20, 1895

Quick Timeline of Frederick Douglass

1818 Born in Cordova, Maryland, U.S.
1838 Married to Anna Murray-Douglass
1895 Died in Washington D.C

Detail Timeline of Frederick Douglass


Born in Cordova, Maryland, U.S.

Douglass was born in Cordova, Maryland, US. He belonged to the multiethnic group as his father was white and his mother was African-American.

September 18 , 1838

Married to Anna Murray-Douglass

The two fell in love with each other when Douglass was imprisoned. Later married and had five children.

February 20 , 1895

Died in Washington D.C

He died from a heart attack after coming from a meeting of the National Council of Women.


Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, also known as Frederick Douglass, was an American writer, abolitionist, and statesman. He wrote three auto-biographies about different phases of his life. 

Moreover, he was the most influential African-American of his time, leading against injustice and slavery and became the first black citizen to hold high rank in U.S. government.

Biography: Early Life as a Slave

Douglass was born in February 1818, in Cordova, Maryland, U.S. Although the birth-day is unknown, later he celebrated February 14 as his birthday. He was born into slavery and lived with his grandmother Betty Bailey.

He was born to a white father and an African mother Harriet Bailey. Tired of life as a slave, he escaped to the north and changed his name to Fredrick Douglass. 

CAPTION: Frederick Douglass SOURCE: Mentalfloss

Douglass moved to Wye House plantation after being separated from his mother at the age of six. After the death of his overseer, he worked as a slave for Hugh Auld in Baltimore. 

Frederick had a good time with Hugh than that of time in plantation due to Lucretia Auld, mother of Hugh. At the age of twelve, Hugh's wife, Sophia taught him alphabets. 

Later, Sophia did not give him to read newspapers under the influence of her husband. Upon the death of the previous owner, he returned and worked in the previous plantation at the age of sixteen.

Then, he worked as a ship caulker in Baltimore. During this time, his escape plan was discovered and kept. Nevertheless, five years later escaped to New York along the way to New Bedford, Massachusetts and worked as a laborer for three years.

Towards The Freedom: What did Frederick Douglass Do?

In 1841, Douglass got an invitation from an antislavery convention to share his experiences and feelings. His speech was so eloquent and zealous that he worked as an agent for the Anti-slavery Society. He devoted himself to the task even when he got punished.

He was influenced by his fellow anti-slavery campaigner Willian Lloyd Garrison and worked even more during the campaign and spent six months giving speeches about anti-slavery from Midwest to East US.

During that time, there was great resistance to the idea of slavery abolition. Similarly, Frederick got attacked physically and verbally and as a result was wounded. His lectures were so passionate and eloquent that everyone was amazed. 

He stated, 

“No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.”

In 1845, Douglass felt the need of writing about his experiences, so he started to write the book named Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave. The book became the best seller of his time, similarly, his second book followed up in My Bondage and My Freedom in 1855.

On August 16, 1845, Frederick fled to Liverpool to not get the attention of Hugh. During his stay at Great Britain and Ireland, he gave speeches in churches about the slavery abolition and bond of humans between continents.

CAPTION: Frederick Douglass in his library SOURCE: Britannica

After his return to the U.S with sufficient money, Douglass bought his freedom and started his abolitionist newspaper, the North Star. The motto of his newspaper was,

"Right is of no Sex – Truth is of no Color – God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren."

In 1951, he allied with the faction of James G. Birney and became a consultant of President Abraham Lincoln during the civil war between 1861 and 1865.

After the civil war, Douglass fought for equality of women and African-Americans. 

Reconstruction Era And Following

During the times of reconstruction from 1865 to 1877, he served as president of the Reconstruction-era Freedman's Bank and became the charge d'affaires for the Dominican Republic for two years.

Similarly, he worked as assistant secretary of the Santo Domingo Commission in 1871. Later in D.C., he became marshal for four years and likewise, for five years, he was the recorder of deeds. In 1882, he published his book Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.

Personal Life: Relationship

During his time in Baltimore, Douglass met his wife Anna Murray-Douglass, a free black woman. They fell in love and helped Frederick escape. The pair married on September 18, 1838.

They had five children- Rosetta Douglass, Lewis Henry Douglass, Frederick Douglass Jr., Charles Reymond Douglass, and Annie Douglass (died early age of 10).

During the time of difficulty, Anna remained supportive and loyal. She died in 1882. 

CAPTION: Frederick Douglass with his second wife, Helen Pitts and sister-in-law, Eva Pitts SOURCE: Britannica

After two years of Anna's death, Douglass remarried Helen Pitts, from Honeoye, New York. 

At the age of 77, after coming from a meeting of National Council of Women in Washington D.C., he suffered from a heart attack and shortly after, he died.

Net Worth

He was a prominent politician and worked as the president of The Freedman's Savings Bank earned in his early times. However, the bank went bankrupt on June 29, 1874. 

Later, as a Marshall and from other different occupation, he earned enough to live a good life. However, his net worth is unknown.

Body Measurements

Height: His height is unavailable.

Weight: He had a healthy body, however, the measurement is distinctly unknown.

Age: During the time of his death( Feb 20, 1895), he was 77-years-old.

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