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Frederick Douglass 

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Name at Birth: Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey


Known As: Frederick Douglass


Birthday: Between 1818-95, Frederick didn’t know his birthday as slaves were not given birth certificates but he decided to celebrate his birthday on February 14th (Valentine’s Day)


Place of Birth: Maryland, USA


Died: 20 February 1895

Best Known For: Being a brave and intelligent abolitionist

The influential Frederick Douglass was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey and was born a slave. Frederick was sadly separated from his mother at a very young age and sold to a different plantation where he was made to work night and day. During slavery it was against the law for slaves to learn how to read and write, however Sophia Auld the wife of Frederick’s slave owner liked Fredrick and taught him the alphabet when he was 12 years old. When the slave owner found out that Fredrick was being taught, he ordered his wife to stop teaching him and beat Frederick for breaking the law. Frederick did not let this stop him! He would watch white children reading and writing and he would then teach himself in secret. When Frederick was 20 years old he escaped from slavery, by dressing up like a sailor, he changed his last name to Douglas and ran away to New York with the woman that he would later marry named Anna Murray.


By this time Frederick had become extremely well educated and passionate about the law and the abolition (banning) of slavery. Frederick was an amazing writer and an inspirational public speaker. He wrote 3 books documenting his life and explaining the horrible treatment of himself and other slaves. He spoke about what it was like to grow up being beaten, starved of food, having to work all day long and being separated from his mother.

Frederick became so knowledgeable and well respected that he was often asked to speak about equal rights for black people, and women and the right for black people to vote. Frederick was so passionate and well educated that he worked alongside President Abraham Lincoln advising him on the fair treatment of black people and the treatment of black soldiers in the civil war.  

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