Celebrating Black History Month:Fredrick Douglas

Luke Fraley, Journalist

Fredrick Douglas was born sometime in February 1818, in Tuckahoe, Maryland. At the age of eight he was ripped from his family and served as a house servant with the family of Hugh Auld. The owner’s wife taught Fredrick how to read and write even though it was illegal at that time to teach enslaved persons these skills. Then at the age of 16 he was sent to the fields to pick cotton. After that he became a ship caulker in Baltimore, Maryland. Five years later he fled to Bedford, Massachusetts  and changed his name to Douglas to hide from the slave hunters.

Douglas started his anti-slavery career by being invited to the Nantucket, Massachusetts, antislavery convention in 1841. They brought him there to share his experiences and what he felt about slavery. He spoke a so well at the convention they gave him a job as agent of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. In 1845 Douglas wrote the American Classic, Life and Times of Fredrick Douglas. Douglas went to Ireland and Britain for a few years to help them with their slavery issues. When he returned he got the job as a consultant for President Abraham Lincoln.

He then after the war became an assistant secretary of the Santo Domingo Commission. After that he became U.S. minister and consul general in Haiti from 1889-1891. Sadly on February 20, 1895 he died in Washington D.C of a heart attack after returning from the National Council of Women in Washington. He was a great man that did great things. Without his help abolishing slavery would have been impossible.  One of his quotes that applies to us today is, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”