FREDERICK DOUGLASS was born a slave on a Maryland plantation. His father was probably a white man, whom he never knew; his mother was a slave, whom he never saw but five times, because she was employed upon a plantation twelve miles away, and died when he was quite young. When he was ten years old, he was sent to Baltimore to be a family servant, where, for a time, his new mistress treated him with the tenderness of a mother, and taught him to read; and being proud of his progress, exultingly told her husband, who, amazed at her simplicity, told her the dangers of her undertaking, and promptly forbade her continuing it, assuring her it was unlawful. But the desire for learning, once awakened, could not be subdued.
Douglass persisted, by the most ingenious artifices, to grope his way to knowledge, and speedily became deeply imbued with the ideas that expanded his mind, becoming, however, taciturn and morose as he reflected on the degraded condition of his existence.
He now became difficult to manage, and matured a plan of escape. He had learned to write, and was at last allowed by his master to work on his own account, paying his owner one half his earnings. He was a caulker in a shipyard, and succeeded, by his acquaintance among vessels, in finding his way to New Bedford, Mass. Here, accompanied by his wife, who had followed him from Maryland, he enjoyed the privilege of being his own master, and, for reasons of safety, speedily abandoned his old name, assuming that of a character which had inspired him while reading Sir Walter Scott's beautiful poem, The Lady of the Lake. He soon subscribed for the Liberator, and was introduced to Mr. Garrison. From this time his course was upward.
The talents he exhibited in recounting his experience as a slave induced the Anti Slavery Society to offer him the position of an agent. He visited England. The interest excited in him there was so great that several English friends united and paid the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds sterling for the purchase of his liberty; while others raised him a fund of several thousand dollars to enable him to fit up a printing-office in Rochester, N. Y. Here he established and conducted a paper during sixteen years, and gave it up when slavery was abolished.
Since then his course has been well known, more through the ceaseless revilings of the enemies of American freedom than his own writings; while, as an orator, he has acquired a reputation of acknowledged eminence. Two of his sons fought bravely in the war for liberty; and Frederick Douglass has made his name to be honorable. His career, as freeman, began in 1838, and he now edits the New National Era, at Washington, D. C., a weekly journal recently established.
[Source: "Biographies of Two Hundred & Fifty Distinguished National Men", 1871]
Submitted by Cathy Danielson
FREDERICK DOUGLASS DEAD
The distinguished colored orator and politician Frederick Douglass, died suddenly at 7 p.m. Wednesday at his home in Anocota, a suburb of Washington D. C. Douglass was the most widely known Negro of this and perhaps of any age. He has been prominent in the politics of the country more than fifty years, and has held the offices of secretary to the commission to Santo Domingo, member of council of District of Columbia, United States Marshal, D. C. recorder of deeds, D. C. and
United States minister to Hayti.
[Source: "The Hamilton News Press" - Marion County, AL - February 28, 1895]
Transcribed and Submitted by Veneta McKinney
(Info from the Library of Congress)