How Did Frederick Douglass Influence African American History

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Influential and inspirational figures abound throughout African-American history. One of the more notable such figures is the abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass, who was born into slavery, but would grow up to become a noted intellectual and ardent supporter of causes ranging from the abolition of slavery to women’s rights to Irish rule. Born in Talbot County, Maryland around 1818 (the exact year of Douglass’s birth is unknown), Douglass’s mother was a slave and his father likely a white plantation owner. Douglass was separated from his mother at a very young age, a practice that was not uncommon at the time, and sent to live with his maternal grandmother, Betty Bailey. That arrangement did not last long, as Douglass was soon living…show more content…
In addition, Douglass would use his literacy to help other slaves follow in his footsteps, teaching them to read and write at a weekly church service. In 1833, Douglass was taken from Hugh Auld and returned to work for Thomas Auld, who would send the teenaged Douglass to notorious “slave-breaker” Edward Covey, who routinely and viciously abused Douglass until a physical confrontation between the two would force Covey to stop abusing Douglass once and for all. In 1838, desperate to flee slavery, Douglass finally succeeded in doing so on his third attempt, when he escaped on a train using a false identification with the help of a woman named Anna Murray, who would soon become Douglass’s wife. The couple would eventually settle in Massachusetts, where Douglass would become heavily involved in the abolitionist movement, sharing his story. In 1845, Douglass’s first autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave”, was published and became a best-seller. The book remains required reading for many of today’s high school
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