Frederick Washington Augustus Bailey was born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in February 1818. Frederick had a complicated family life. He had somewhat of an idea of who his mother was. She resided on another plantation and passed away when he was young. Frederick had no idea of who his father was and when he turned eight years old his slave-owner employed him to work as a body servant in Baltimore. At a young age of 12, Frederick purchased a book called The Columbian Orator. The book was an assortment of debates3, revolutionary speeches, and writings on natural rights.
At 15 years of age, Frederickr’s slave-owner took him to the Eastern shore to work as a farmhand but he rebelled continuously. At that young age, he shared knowledge to other slaves and physically fought against a slave-breaker. His frustrated slave owner took him to Baltimore and this is where he interacted with a free black woman called Anna Murray. With the help of Murray, Frederick escaped on September 3, 1838 disguised as a sailor. In less than one day, Frederick arrived in New York City and declared himself a free man. He successfully escaped slavery. Frederick Douglass is one of the most significant abolitionists who established a link between literacy and freedom. His theories continue to shape the perceptions towards education and its role in empowerment.
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As a young boy, Frederick realized that freedom could only be achieved through literacy. Since he was not allowed to attend school, Frederick took it upon himself to write and read in the streets of Baltimore. After his escape, Frederick Douglass settled in New York which was a safe haven for abolitionists. Once he moved to New York, Frederick sent for Anna Murray and the two married September, 1838. They had five children together. After their wedding, the couple moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts where they met Nathan and Mary Johnson a couple who were free people of color. It was this interaction with the couple that inspired Frederick to take on the name Douglass, a name inspired by the main character in Sir Walter Scottr’s poem, The Lady of the Lake. After settling in New Bedford, Douglass started going to abolitionist movement gatherings. His attendance at this meetings exposed him to the writings of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. Garrison and Douglass became friends when the two were asked to lecture at an abolitionist movement meeting during which Douglass shared his story of escape and slavery. Garrison motivated Douglass to become a part of the abolitionist movement.
By 1843, Douglass had become an important part of the American Anti-Slavery Society. They hosted conventions throughout the United States. Douglass was attacked several times during the tour by those opposed to the abolitionist movement. In a significant attack in Pendleton,
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