What did Frederick Douglass accomplish that gave him prominence in American history?
Frederick Douglass rose to prominence as a leading African-American voice in the nineteenth century abolitionist movement. Born into slavery, he escaped as a young man and met William Lloyd Garrison, a leader in the movement, in the 1840s. Douglass was by all accounts a very talented orator, and his thunderous speeches against slavery made him a celebrity in the North. His widely-read autobiography added to his fame, and by the time of the Civil War, he was a frequent correspondent with President Abraham Lincoln, who he constantly lobbied to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, to allow African-American men to fight to preserve the Union, and to push the Thirteenth Amendment through Congress. After the war, Douglass was an advocate for the rights of freedmen in the South, both during and after Reconstruction. He spoke publicly for the rights of African-Americans even as they were severely circumscribed under emerging Jim Crow regimes. In short, Douglass was a lifelong activist for the rights of African-Americans, both under slavery and after it came to an end.