Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass, born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey in 1817 or 1818, and died on February 20, 1895 in Washington,  was an American orator, abolitionist, publisher, and public servant.

Born a slave, he managed to escape. An eloquent communicator, he became an agent of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, and wrote his autobiography: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. The fame puts his illegal freedom in the northern non-slave states at risk and he took refuge in Europe, where his new friends got his manumission (act of freeing), and helped him with financial resources to allow him to found The North Star newspaper upon his return.

Frederick Douglass distanced himself from his early collaborators of the American Anti-Slavery Society, and from his mentor William Lloyd Garrison, after the positive development of his opinion on the value of the Constitution of the United States, to join the more conservative abolitionists, whose action was focused on politics rather than primarily on moral reform of public opinion. His association with Gerrit Smith, a major contributor to the Freedom Party founded by James G. Birney, is materialized by the merger of their respective newspapers.

Douglass was the seventh man in what historians have called the Secret Group of Six, passing money and recruiting sidekicks to Captain John Brown, 2 for a plot with the truly illusory goal of a general insurgency against slavery. After the outbreak of the Civil War, Douglass was among the first to suggest that the federal government employ troops made up of black men. A popular speaker from 1866, Douglass held various administrative positions in government between 1871 and 1895.

Frederick Douglass was a firm believer in the equality of all, including African descendants, women, Native Americans, immigrants, and of course all other Americans of European descent. Some commentators and historians have said of Douglass that he fell into self-promotion, but whether he was able to promote a separate program for African Americans, for example in schools or because of a newspaper ephemeral in Washington in 1869, his personal qualities are undeniable for all: courage, perseverance, intelligence, and resilience.

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