Fredrick Douglas Essay

306 WordsAug 31, 20152 Pages
Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was influential in the promotion of social justice in the United States. As an African American born during slavery, he advocated for the abolition of slavery and elimination of discrimination based on degrading cultural values. Douglass serves as an important figure in American history because he supported key philanthropic responsibilities such as reciprocity, mutual aid, and commitment to an ideal (Martin 1994, 62). Born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey in Talbot County, Maryland, his mother was a slave and his father was rumored to be their white slave master. Because slaves were treated as property to be bought and sold, Douglass' owner moved him twenty-five miles away from his mother and siblings. He was raised under the care of his grandmother, Betsy Bailey, on a tobacco and wheat plantation. By experiencing first-hand the deplorable treatment of slaves on plantations, and then seeing free African Americans who inhabited the larger cities, Douglass concluded that slavery was an unacceptable practice. When Douglass was eight years old, he was sent to live with a new master in Baltimore. While there, Sophia Auld, the wife of his slave master, taught Douglass to read and write. These skills sparked his commitment to education as a means to improve society. As a result, Douglass taught other African-American slaves how to read and write so that they might raise themselves from their plight. In 1838, Douglass escaped slavery and moved to Massachusetts. Fearing recapture and punishment, he fled to England in 1845. There he earned money as a lecturer, and met people sympathetic to the anti-slavery movement. He was given $711 by a group of English benefactors that enabled him to buy freedom in America. Once his legal freedom was established, he returned to America to help other slaves free themselves from their oppressed

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