Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass

Celebrity Profile

Name: Frederick Douglass
Occupation: Autobiographer
Gender: Male
Birth Day: February 14, 1818
Death Date: Feb 20, 1895 (age 77)
Age: Aged 77
Country: United States
Zodiac Sign: Aquarius

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Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was born on February 14, 1818 in United States (77 years old). Frederick Douglass is an Autobiographer, zodiac sign: Aquarius. Find out Frederick Douglassnet worth 2020, salary 2020 detail bellow.

Trivia

He once said, "I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong."

Does Frederick Douglass Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Frederick Douglass died on Feb 20, 1895 (age 77).

Net Worth

Net Worth 2020

Undisclosed

Salary 2020

Not known

Before Fame

He grew up in slavery in Maryland. While enslaved in Baltimore, he was taught by a plantation owner's wife to read and write. In 1838, he escaped slavery by impersonating a free sailor of African descent and traveling by train and steamboat to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Biography Timeline

1818

Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Talbot County, Maryland. The plantation was between Hillsboro and Cordova; his birthplace was likely his grandmother's cabin east of Tappers Corner, (38°53′04″N 75°57′29″W / 38.8845°N 75.958°W / 38.8845; -75.958) and west of Tuckahoe Creek. In his first autobiography, Douglass stated: "I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it." However, based on the extant records of Douglass's former owner, Aaron Anthony, historian Dickson J. Preston determined that Douglass was born in February 1818. Though the exact date of his birth is unknown, he later chose to celebrate February 14 as his birthday, remembering that his mother called him her “Little Valentine.”

1826

At the age of 6, Frederick was separated from his grandparents and moved to the Wye House plantation, where Aaron Anthony worked as overseer. After Anthony died in 1826, Douglass was given to Lucretia Auld, wife of Thomas Auld, who sent him to serve Thomas' brother Hugh Auld in Baltimore. Lucretia was essential in creating who Douglass was as she shaped his experiences, and had a special interest in Douglass from the time he was a child, wanting to give him a better life. Douglass felt that he was lucky to be in the city, where he said slaves were almost freemen, compared to those on plantations.

1833

In 1833, Thomas Auld took Douglass back from Hugh ("[a]s a means of punishing Hugh," Douglass later wrote). Thomas sent Douglass to work for Edward Covey, a poor farmer who had a reputation as a "slave-breaker." He whipped Douglass so regularly that his wounds had little time to heal. Douglass later said the frequent whippings broke his body, soul, and spirit. The 16-year-old Douglass finally rebelled against the beatings, however, and fought back. After Douglass won a physical confrontation, Covey never tried to beat him again. Recounting his beatings at Covey's farm in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Douglass described himself as "a man transformed into a brute!" Still, Douglass came to see his physical fight with Covey as life-transforming, and introduced the story in his autobiography as such: "You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man."

1837

Douglass first tried to escape from Freeland, who had hired him from his owner, but was unsuccessful. In 1837, Douglass met and fell in love with Anna Murray, a free black woman in Baltimore about five years older than he. Her free status strengthened his belief in the possibility of gaining his own freedom. Murray encouraged him and supported his efforts by aid and money.

1838

On September 3, 1838, Douglass successfully escaped by boarding a northbound train of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad. The area where he boarded was a short distance east of the train depot, in a recently developed neighborhood between the modern neighborhoods of Harbor East and Little Italy. The depot was located at President and Fleet streets, east of "The Basin" of the Baltimore harbor, on the northwest branch of the Patapsco River.

Once Douglass had arrived, he sent for Murray to follow him north to New York. She brought with her the necessary basics for them to set up a home. They were married on September 15, 1838, by a black Presbyterian minister, just eleven days after Douglass had reached New York. At first, they adopted Johnson as their married name, to divert attention.

The couple settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts (an abolitionist center, full of former slaves) in 1838, later moving to Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1841. After meeting and staying with Nathan and Mary Johnson, they adopted Douglass as their married name: Douglass had grown up using his mother's surname of Bailey; after escaping slavery he had changed his surname first to Stanley and then to Johnson. In New Bedford, the latter was such a common name that he wanted one that was more distinctive, and asked Nathan Johnson to choose a suitable surname. Nathan suggested "Douglass," after having read the poem "The Lady of the Lake" by Walter Scott, in which two of the principal characters have the surname "Douglas."

1839

Douglass thought of joining a white Methodist Church, but was disappointed, from the beginning, upon finding that it was segregated. Later, he joined the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, an independent black denomination first established in New York City, which counted among its members Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman. He became a licensed preacher in 1839, which helped him to hone his oratorical skills. He held various positions, including steward, Sunday-school superintendent, and sexton. In 1840, Douglass delivered a speech in Elmira, New York, then a station on the Underground Railroad, in which a black congregation would form years later, becoming the region's largest church by 1940.

1841

Douglass also joined several organizations in New Bedford, and regularly attended abolitionist meetings. He subscribed to Wm. Lloyd Garrison's weekly newspaper, The Liberator. Douglass later said that "no face and form ever impressed me with such sentiments [of the hatred of slavery] as did those of William Lloyd Garrison." So deep was this influence that in his last biography, Douglass confessed "his paper took a place in my heart second only to The Bible." Garrison was likewise impressed with Douglass, and had written about his anti-colonialist stance in The Liberator as early as 1839. Douglass first heard Garrison speak in 1841, at a lecture Garrison gave in Liberty Hall, New Bedford. At another meeting, Douglass was unexpectedly invited to speak. After telling his story, Douglass was encouraged to become an anti-slavery lecturer. A few days later Douglass spoke at the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society's annual convention, in Nantucket. Then 23 years old, Douglass conquered his nervousness and gave an eloquent speech about his rough life as a slave.

While living in Lynn, Douglass engaged in early protest against segregated transportation. In September 1841, at Lynn Central Square station, Douglass and friend James N. Buffum were thrown off an Eastern Railroad train because Douglass refused to sit in the segregated railroad coach.

1843

In 1843, Douglass joined other speakers in the American Anti-Slavery Society's "Hundred Conventions" project, a six-month tour at meeting halls throughout the eastern and midwestern United States. During this tour, slavery supporters frequently accosted Douglass. At a lecture in Pendleton, Indiana, an angry mob chased and beat Douglass before a local Quaker family, the Hardys, rescued him. His hand was broken in the attack; it healed improperly and bothered him for the rest of his life. A stone marker in Falls Park in the Pendleton Historic District commemorates this event.

1845

Douglass's best-known work is his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, written during his time in Lynn, Massachusetts and published in 1845. At the time, some skeptics questioned whether a black man could have produced such an eloquent piece of literature. The book received generally positive reviews and became an immediate bestseller. Within three years, it had been reprinted nine times, with 11,000 copies circulating in the United States. It was also translated into French and Dutch and published in Europe.

Douglass's friends and mentors feared that the publicity would draw the attention of his ex-owner, Hugh Auld, who might try to get his "property" back. They encouraged Douglass to tour Ireland, as many former slaves had done. Douglass set sail on the Cambria for Liverpool, England on August 16, 1845. He traveled in Ireland as the Great Famine was beginning.

1846

Douglass spent two years in Ireland and Great Britain, where he gave many lectures in churches and chapels. His draw was such that some facilities were "crowded to suffocation". One example was his hugely popular London Reception Speech, which Douglass delivered in May 1846 at Alexander Fletcher's Finsbury Chapel. Douglass remarked that in England he was treated not "as a color, but as a man."

In 1846, Douglass met with Thomas Clarkson, one of the last living British abolitionists, who had persuaded Parliament to abolish slavery in Great Britain's colonies. During this trip Douglass became legally free, as British supporters led by Anna Richardson and her sister-in-law Ellen of Newcastle upon Tyne raised funds to buy his freedom from his American owner Thomas Auld. Many supporters tried to encourage Douglass to remain in England but, with his wife still in Massachusetts and three million of his black brethren in bondage in the United States, he returned to America in the spring of 1847, soon after the death of Daniel O'Connell.

1847

In 1847, Frederick Douglass explained to Garrison, "I have no love for America, as such; I have no patriotism. I have no country. What country have I? The Institutions of this Country do not know me—do not recognize me as a man."

After returning to the U.S. in 1847, using £500 (equivalent to $46,030 in 2019) given him by English supporters, Douglass started publishing his first abolitionist newspaper, the North Star, from the basement of the Memorial AME Zion Church in Rochester, New York. Originally, Pittsburgh journalist Martin Delany was co-editor but Douglass didn't feel he brought in enough subscriptions, and they parted ways. The North Star's motto was "Right is of no Sex – Truth is of no Color – God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren." The AME Church and North Star vigorously opposed the mostly white American Colonization Society and its proposal to send blacks back to Africa. Douglass also soon split with Garrison, perhaps because the North Star competed with Garrison's National Anti-Slavery Standard and Marius Robinson's Anti-Slavery Bugle. Besides publishing the North Star and delivering speeches, Douglass also participated in the Underground Railroad. He and his wife provided lodging and resources in their home to more than four hundred escaped slaves.

1848

In September 1848, on the tenth anniversary of his escape, Douglass published an open letter addressed to his former master, Thomas Auld, berating him for his conduct, and inquiring after members of his family still held by Auld. In the course of the letter, Douglass adeptly transitions from formal and restrained to familiar and then to impassioned. At one point he is the proud parent, describing his improved circumstances and the progress of his own four young children. But then dramatically shifts tone:

In 1848, Douglass was the only African American to attend the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women's rights convention, in upstate New York. Elizabeth Cady Stanton asked the assembly to pass a resolution asking for women's suffrage. Many of those present opposed the idea, including influential Quakers James and Lucretia Mott. Douglass stood and spoke eloquently in favor of women's suffrage; he said that he could not accept the right to vote as a black man if women could not also claim that right. He suggested that the world would be a better place if women were involved in the political sphere.

1851

Meanwhile, in 1851, Douglass merged the North Star with Gerrit Smith's Liberty Party Paper to form Frederick Douglass' Paper, which was published until 1860.

1852

On July 5, 1852, Douglass delivered an address to the ladies of the Rochester Anti-Slavery Sewing Society. This speech eventually became known as "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?"; one biographer called it "perhaps the greatest antislavery oration ever given." In 1853, he was a prominent attendee of the radical abolitionist National African American Convention in Rochester. Douglass' was one of five names attached to the address of the convention to the people of the United States published under the title, The Claims of Our Common Cause, along with Amos Noë Freeman, James Monroe Whitfield, Henry O. Wagoner, and George Boyer Vashon.

1855

Douglass published three versions of his autobiography during his lifetime (and revised the third of these), each time expanding on the previous one. The 1845 Narrative was his biggest seller, and probably allowed him to raise the funds to gain his legal freedom the following year, as discussed below. In 1855, Douglass published My Bondage and My Freedom. In 1881, after the Civil War, Douglass published Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, which he revised in 1892.

1856

Anna Douglass remained a loyal supporter of her husband's public work. His relationships with Julia Griffiths and Ottilie Assing, two women with whom he was professionally involved, caused recurring speculation and scandals. Assing was a journalist recently immigrated from Germany, who first visited Douglass in 1856 seeking permission to translate My Bondage and My Freedom to German. Until 1872, she often stayed at Douglass's home "for several months at a time" as his "intellectual and emotional companion." Assing held Anna Douglass "in utter contempt" and was vainly hoping that Douglass would separate from his wife. Douglass's biographer David W. Blight concludes that Assing and Douglass "were probably lovers."

1859

On March 12, 1859, Douglass met with radical abolitionists John Brown, George DeBaptiste, and others at William Webb's house in Detroit to discuss emancipation. Douglass met Brown again when Brown visited his home two months before leading the raid on Harpers Ferry. Douglass disapproved of Brown's plan to start an armed slave rebellion in the South. Douglass believed that attacking federal property would enrage the American public. After the raid, which took place between October 16–18, Douglass, fearing guilt by association as well as arrest as a co-conspirator, fled for a brief time to Canada before proceeding onward to England on a previously-planned lecture tour, arriving near the end of November. Years later, Douglass shared a stage in Harpers Ferry with Andrew Hunter, the prosecutor who secured Brown's conviction and execution.

1860

During his lecture tour of England, on March 26, 1860, Douglass delivered a speech before the Scottish Anti-Slavery Society in Glasgow, "The Constitution of the United States: Is It Pro-Slavery or Antislavery?", outlining his views on the American Constitution. That month, on the 13th, Douglass' youngest daughter Annie died in Rochester, New York just days shy of her 11th birthday. Douglass sailed back from England the following month, traveling through Canada to avoid detection.

1861

Douglass and the abolitionists argued that because the aim of the Civil War was to end slavery, African Americans should be allowed to engage in the fight for their freedom. Douglass publicized this view in his newspapers and several speeches. In August 1861, Douglass published an account of the First Battle of Bull Run that noted that there were some blacks already in the Confederate ranks. A few weeks later, Douglass brought the subject up again, quoting a witness to the battle who said they saw black Confederates "with muskets on their shoulders and bullets in their pockets." Douglass conferred with President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 on the treatment of black soldiers, and with President Andrew Johnson on the subject of black suffrage.

1863

President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which took effect on January 1, 1863, declared the freedom of all slaves in Confederate-held territory. (Slaves in Union-held areas and Northern states were freed with the adoption of the 13th Amendment on December 6, 1865.) Douglass described the spirit of those awaiting the proclamation: "We were waiting and listening as for a bolt from the sky ... we were watching ... by the dim light of the stars for the dawn of a new day ... we were longing for the answer to the agonizing prayers of centuries."

1867

Throughout the Reconstruction era, Douglass continued speaking, and emphasized the importance of work, voting rights and actual exercise of suffrage. Douglass's stump speech for 25 years after the end of the Civil War emphasized work to counter the racism that was then prevalent in unions. In a speech delivered on November 15, 1867, Douglass said: "A man's rights rest in three boxes. The ballot box, jury box and the cartridge box. Let no man be kept from the ballot box because of his color. Let no woman be kept from the ballot box because of her sex." Douglass spoke at many colleges around the country, including Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, in 1873.

1868

In an effort to combat these efforts, Douglass supported the presidential campaign of Ulysses S. Grant in 1868. In 1870, Douglass started his last newspaper, the New National Era, attempting to hold his country to its commitment to equality. President Grant sent a Congressionally sponsored commission, accompanied by Douglass, on a mission to the West Indies to investigate if the annexation of Santo Domingo would be good for the United States. Grant believed annexation would help relieve the violent situation in the South allowing African Americans their own state. Douglass and the commission favored annexation, however, Congress remained opposed to annexation. Douglass criticized Senator Charles Sumner, who opposed annexation, stating if Sumner continued to oppose annexation he would "regard him as the worst foe the colored race has on this continent."

1872

In 1872, Douglass became the first African American nominated for Vice President of the United States, as Victoria Woodhull's running mate on the Equal Rights Party ticket. He was nominated without his knowledge. Douglass neither campaigned for the ticket nor acknowledged that he had been nominated. In that year, he was presidential elector at large for the State of New York, and took that state's votes to Washington, D.C.

1874

The Freedman's Savings Bank went bankrupt on June 29, 1874, just a few months after Douglass became its president in late March. During that same economic crisis, his final newspaper, The New National Era, failed in September. When Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was elected president, Douglass accepted an appointment as United States Marshal for the District of Columbia, which helped assure his family's financial security.

1876

On April 14, 1876, Douglass delivered the keynote speech at the unveiling of the Emancipation Memorial in Washington's Lincoln Park. In that speech, Douglass spoke frankly about Lincoln, noting what he perceived as both positive and negative attributes of the late President. Calling Lincoln "the white man's president", Douglass criticized Lincoln's tardiness in joining the cause of emancipation, noting that Lincoln initially opposed the expansion of slavery but did not support its elimination. But Douglass also asked, "Can any colored man, or any white man friendly to the freedom of all men, ever forget the night which followed the first day of January 1863, when the world was to see if Abraham Lincoln would prove to be as good as his word?" Douglass also said: "Though Mr. Lincoln shared the prejudices of his white fellow-countrymen against the Negro, it is hardly necessary to say that in his heart of hearts he loathed and hated slavery ..."

After delivering the speech, Frederick Douglass immediately wrote to the National Republican newspaper in Washington, which published five days later on April 19, 1876. In his letter to the editor, Douglass criticized the statue's design and suggested the park could be improved by more dignified monuments of free Black people. “The negro here, though rising, is still on his knees and nude,” Douglass wrote. “What I want to see before I die is a monument representing the negro, not couchant on his knees like a four-footed animal, but erect on his feet like a man.”

1877

In 1877, Douglass visited Thomas Auld, who was by then on his deathbed, and the two men reconciled. Douglass had met Auld's daughter, Amanda Auld Sears, some years prior; she had requested the meeting and had subsequently attended and cheered one of Douglass' speeches. Her father complimented her for reaching out to Douglass. The visit also appears to have brought closure to Douglass, although some criticized his effort.

1881

In 1881, Douglass published the final edition of his autobiography, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. That year he was appointed as Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia. His wife Anna Murray Douglass died in 1882, leaving the widower devastated. After a period of mourning, Douglass found new meaning from working with activist Ida B. Wells. He remarried in 1884, as mentioned above.

1882

After Anna died in 1882, in 1884 Douglass married again, to Helen Pitts, a white suffragist and abolitionist from Honeoye, New York. Pitts was the daughter of Gideon Pitts Jr., an abolitionist colleague and friend of Douglass. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College (then called Mount Holyoke Female Seminary), Pitts worked on a radical feminist publication named Alpha while living in Washington, D.C. She later worked as Douglass's secretary.

1885

In addition to his travel abroad during these years, he also lectured in small towns in the United States. On December 28, 1885, the aging orator spoke to the literary society in Rising Sun, a town in northeastern Maryland a couple of miles below the Mason–Dixon line. The program, "The Self-Made Man," attracted a large audience including students from Lincoln University in Chester County, PA, the Oxford Press reported. "Mr. Douglass is growing old and has lost much of his fire and vigor of mind as well as body, but he is still able to interest an audience. He is a remarkable man and is a bright example of the capability of the colored race, even under the blighting influence of slavery, from which he emerged and became one of the distinguished citizens of the country," the Chester County PA newspaper remarked.

1886

His funeral was held at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church. Thousands of people passed by his coffin to show their respect. Although Douglass had attended several churches in the nation's capital, he had a pew here and donated two standing candelabras when this church had moved to a new building in 1886. He also gave many lectures there, including his last major speech, "The Lesson of the Hour."

1888

At the 1888 Republican National Convention, Douglass became the first African American to receive a vote for President of the United States in a major party's roll call vote. That year, Douglass spoke at Claflin College, a historically black college in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and the oldest such institution in the state.

1889

President Harrison appointed Douglass as the United States's minister resident and consul-general to the Republic of Haiti and Chargé d'affaires for Santo Domingo in 1889, but Douglass resigned the commission in July 1891. In 1893, Haiti made Douglass a co-commissioner of its pavilion at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

1892

Many African Americans, called Exodusters, escaped the Klan and racially discriminatory laws in the South by moving to Kansas, where some formed all-black towns to have a greater level of freedom and autonomy. Douglass did not favor this, nor the Back-to-Africa movement. He thought the latter resembled the American Colonization Society which he had opposed in his youth. In 1892, at an Indianapolis conference convened by Bishop Henry McNeal Turner, Douglass spoke out against the separatist movements, urging blacks to stick it out. He made similar speeches as early as 1879, and was criticized both by fellow leaders and some audiences, who even booed him for this position. Speaking in Baltimore in 1894, Douglass said, "I hope and trust all will come out right in the end, but the immediate future looks dark and troubled. I cannot shut my eyes to the ugly facts before me."

In 1892, Douglass constructed rental housing for blacks, now known as Douglass Place, in the Fells Point area of Baltimore. The complex still exists, and in 2003 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

1895

On February 20, 1895, Douglass attended a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, D.C. During that meeting, he was brought to the platform and received a standing ovation. Shortly after he returned home, Douglass died of a massive heart attack. He was 77.

1903

Douglass' coffin was transported back to Rochester, New York, where he had lived for 25 years, longer than anywhere else in his life. He was buried next to Anna in the Douglass family plot of Mount Hope Cemetery, and Helen joined them in 1903.

2012

In the 21st century, historical plaques were installed on buildings in Cork and Waterford, Ireland, and London to celebrate Douglass's visit: the first is on the Imperial Hotel in Cork and was unveiled on August 31, 2012; the second is on the facade of Waterford City Hall and was unveiled on October 7, 2013. It commemorates his speech there on October 9, 1845. The third plaque adorns Nell Gwynn House, South Kensington in London, at the site of an earlier house where Douglass stayed with the British abolitionist George Thompson. A plaque on Gilmore Place in Edinburgh marks his stay there in 1846.

2018

Douglass was of mixed race, which likely included Native American and African on his mother's side, as well as European. In contrast, his father was "almost certainly white," as argued by historian David W. Blight in his 2018 biography of Douglass. Douglass claimed that his mother Harriet Bailey gave him his grand name and, after escaping to the North years later, he took the surname Douglass, having already dropped his two middle names.

Family Life

Frederick married his first wife, Anna Murray, in 1838. The couple had three sons and two daughters. Following Murray's death, Douglass married Helen Pitts, a white feminist twenty years his junior.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Frederick Douglass is 204 years, 3 months and 10 days old. Frederick Douglass will celebrate 205th birthday on a Tuesday 14th of February 2023. Below we countdown to Frederick Douglass upcoming birthday.

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Recent Birthday Highlights

201st birthday - Thursday, February 14, 2019

Feb 16 | Frederick Douglass 201st Birthday Celebration — Congress Heights on the Rise

You're invited to this free community event!

Frederick Douglass 201st birthday timeline
197th birthday - Saturday, February 14, 2015

Frederick Douglass’s 197th Birthday Weekend Celebration

194th birthday - Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Marking Frederick Douglass’s 194th birthday

The famous leader of the abolitionist movement died in February 1895 at age 77. The National Park Service hosts celebratory events on Douglass’s birthday at his estate in Southeast Washington.

Frederick Douglass 194th birthday timeline

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