Frederick Douglass Biography

Frederick Douglass Biography

Frederick Douglass expressed one of his essential beliefs when he said, “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.” Douglass was born as a slave and spent his life working to end slavery and to create equality for everyone. His first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself, was published in 1845. Many readers at the time suspected it was actually authored by a white man because no one expected such eloquence from a black writer. It became an enormous success and was reprinted nine times in three years and translated into numerous languages. Douglass wrote two other autobiographies, but none was as successful or critically acclaimed as his first.

Facts and Trivia

  • In 1838, Douglass escaped slavery in an elaborate scheme where he wore a sailer’s uniform and borrowed papers from a free African American seaman. In a journey that took less than twenty-four hours, he left Baltimore by train and travelled through Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Philadelphia. He says, though, that he did not feel safe until he reached New York City.
  • Douglass’ second wife was a white woman named Helen Pitts. Their marriage was scandalous at the time because they were not of the same race and because she was nearly twenty years his junior.
  • There is some discrepancy over when Douglass was born. He chose February 14 as his birthday and said he was born in 1816. Many other accounts say he was actually born in 1818.
  • Douglass became an honorary member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity posthumously in 1921.
  • Douglass was the first African American to be nominated for the office of Vice President of the United States.
Additional Content
  • Biography (History of the World: The 19th Century)
  • Biography (Masterpieces of American Literature)
  • Biography (Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)
  • Biography (Critical Guide to Censorship and Literature)
  • Biography (Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)
  • Biography (Masterpieces of American Literature)
  • Biography

(The entire section is 5787 words.)