Posted by: Ron DuBour | February 26, 2019

Knowing your American Heroes~Frederick Douglass (1818–1895)~by rldubour

Celebrating Black History Month:


Knowing your American Heroes

Frederick Douglass (1818–1895)

Image result for Frederick Douglass (1818–1895)

Born Frederick Augustus

Washington Bailey his name.

Known as Frederick Douglas

Would be one in the same.


His Mom was Harriet Bailey

A slave in Talbot County, Maryland.

Still an infant was taken away

The owner did demand.


In thirty-six tried to escape

From his owner Mr.Covey.

And then from owner Mr. Freeman

To freedom from slavery.


Dressed in a sailor’s uniform

September third in thirty-eight.

Boarding a train to Havre de Grace

He successfully escaped.


In forty-three participated

In Anti-Slavery Society’s.

Became publisher of “The North Star”

This was published monthly.


He knew the key to social status

Was to improve through education.

In schools for African-Americans

He fought for desegregation.


Conferred with President Lincoln

In eighteen and sixty-three.

Now Douglas a famous black man

Known for his oratories.


Appointed a U.S. Marshal

And then the Recorder of Deeds.

The most prominent African-American

In equality he believed.


An American abolitionist

Also editor and orator

A statesman and reformer.

And a well known author.


A formidable public presence

His words he spoke were strong.

“I would unite with anybody to do right

And with nobody to do wrong.”

AUTHOR NOTES: Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, who later became known as Frederick Douglass, was born a slave in Talbot County, Maryland, near Hillsboro. He was separated from his mother, Harriet Bailey, when he was still an infant. She died when Douglass was about seven. The identity of Douglass’ father is obscure: Douglass originally stated that his father was a white man, perhaps his owner, Aaron Anthony; but he later said he knew nothing of his father’s identity. At the age of six, Douglass was separated from his grandmother and moved to the Wye House plantation, where Anthony worked as overseer. When Anthony died, Douglass was given to Lucretia Auld, wife of Thomas Auld. Mrs. Auld sent Douglass to Baltimore to serve Thomas’ brother, Hugh Auld. In 1836, Douglass first attempted to escape from his owner, Covey. He was unsuccessful. He also tried to escape from Mr. Freeman, a man who hired him out from his owner, Colonel Lloyd. This was his second unsuccessful attempt at escape. Douglass successfully escaped slavery on September 3, 1838, boarding a train to Havre de Grace, Maryland, dressed in a sailor’s uniform and carrying identification papers provided by a free black seaman. After crossing the Susquehanna River by ferry at Havre de Grace, Douglass continued by train to Wilmington, Delaware. From there Douglass went by steamboat to “Quaker City” — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His escape to freedom eventually led him to New York, the entire journey taking less than 24 hours. Douglass “officially” won his freedom when British sympathizers paid the slaveholder who legally still owned him. In 1843, Douglass participated in the American Anti-Slavery Society’s Hundred Conventions project, a six month tour of meeting halls throughout the Eastern and Midwestern United States. He participated in the Seneca Falls Convention, the birthplace of the American feminist movement, and was a signatory of its Declaration of Sentiments. Douglass later became the publisher of a series of newspapers: The North Star, Frederick Douglass Weekly, Frederick Douglass’ Paper, Douglass’ Monthly and New National Era. The motto of The North Star was “Right is of no Sex — Truth is of no Color — God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren.” Douglass understood that a key way African-Americans could improve their socio-economic status was through education. For this reason, he was an early advocate for the desegregation of schools. In the 1850’s, he was especially outspoken in New York. While there was a one to forty ratio of African American to white students, expenditures on education reflected a ration of one to sixteen hundred. This meant that the facilities and instruction for African-American children was vastly inferior. In response, Douglass called for court action to open all schools to all children. He even went so far as to claim that inclusion within the educational system was a more pressing need than political issues such as suffrage. Douglass’ work spanned the years prior to and during the Civil War. He was acquainted with the radical abolitionist John Brown but disapproved of Brown’s plan to start an armed slave rebellion in the South. Brown visited Douglass’ home two months before he led the raid on the federal armory in Harpers Ferry. After the incident, Douglass fled for a time to Canada, fearing he might be arrested as a co-conspirator. Douglass believed that the attack on federal property would enrage the American public. Douglass would later share a stage in Harpers Ferry with Andrew Hunter, the prosecutor who successfully convicted Brown. 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. His early collaborators were the white abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips. In the early 1850s, however, Douglass split with the Garrisonians over the issue of the United States Constitution. By the time of the Civil War, Douglass was one of the most famous black men in the country, known for his oratories on the condition of the black race, and other issues such as women’s rights. In 1872, Douglass became the first African American to receive a nomination for Vice President of the United States, having been nominated to be Victoria Woodhull’s running mate on the Equal Rights Party ticket without his knowledge. During the campaign, he neither campaigned for the ticket nor even acknowledged that he had been nominated. Douglass spoke at many schools around the country in the Reconstruction era, including Bates College in Lewiston, Maine in 1873. In 1877, Douglass was appointed a United States Marshal. In 1881, he was appointed Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia. His wife (Anna Murray Douglas) died in 1882, leaving him in a state of depression. Douglass had five children; two of them, Charles and Rosetta, helped produce his newspapers. Douglass was an ordained minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Shortly after he returned home, Frederick Douglass died of a massive heart attack or stroke in his adopted hometown of Washington, D.C. He is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York. In 1921, members of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity designated Frederick Douglass as an honorary member of the fraternity. He holds the distinction of being the only member initiated posthumously. Frederick Douglass (February, 1818 – February 20, 1895) was an American abolitionist, editor, orator, author, statesman and reformer. Called “The Sage of Anacostia” and “The Lion of Anacostia,” Douglass was one of the most prominent figures in African American history and a formidable public presence. He was a firm believer in the equality of all people, whether black, female, American Indian, or recent immigrant. He was fond of saying, “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.”

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