Frederick Douglass

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Frederick Douglass

Born February, 1818
Died February 20, 1895
Washington D.C.
Spouse Anna Murray-Douglass

Helen Pitts Douglass

Religion Christian

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), born as Frederick Baily, was raised as a slave. He escaped to Massachusetts at age 20 and changed his name to Frederick Douglass in order to conceal himself from slave catchers. He was a member of the Republican Party.

He developed marvelous debating and oratory skills to expose the injustices of slavery by reading the book The Columbian Orator,[1] which he started to read around age 12. William Lloyd Garrison, publisher of the abolitionist Liberator Newspaper, hired him.

Douglass published a best-selling autobiography, but then felt he had to flee to England to avoid being caught by slave catchers. Reformer Daniel O'Connell formed a friendship with him there.

Upon his return to New York, he founded the "North Star" newspaper.

Frederick Douglass on religion

See also: Black Americans, history and religion

I was not more than thirteen years old, when in my loneliness and destitution I longed for some one to whom I could go, as to a father and protector. The preaching of a white Methodist minister, named Hanson, was the means of causing me to feel that in God I had such a friend. He thought that all men, great and small, bond and free, were sinners in the sight of God: that they were by nature rebels against His government; and that they must repent of their sins, and be reconciled to God through Christ. I cannot say that I had a very distinct notion of what was required of me, but one thing I did know well: I was wretched and had no means of making myself otherwise.
I consulted a good old colored man named Charles Lawson, and in tones of holy affection he told me to pray, and to "cast all my care upon God." This I sought to do; and though for weeks I was a poor, broken-hearted mourner, traveling through doubts and fears, I finally found my burden lightened, and my heart relieved. I loved all mankind, slaveholders not excepted, though I abhorred slavery more than ever. I saw the world in a new light, and my great concern was to have everybody converted. My desire to learn increased, and especially, did I want a thorough acquaintance with the contents of the Bible.[2]

His motto was "Right is of no sex - Truth is of no color - God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren."

Douglass also wrote, "I loved all mankind, slaveholder not excepted, though I abhorred slavery more than ever. I saw the world in a new light ... I gathered scattered pages of the Bible from the filthy street gutters, and washed and dried them, that ... I might get a word or two of wisdom from them."

See also


  1. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,p. 49, "Every opportunity I got, I used to read this book."
  2. Douglass, Frederick (1882); The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass: From 1817–1882. 3rd edition by John Lobb. Christian Age Office. p. 63.

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