Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, circa 1818 – February 20, 1895) was an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining renown for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing. He stood as a living counter-example to slaveholders' arguments that slaves did not have the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens. He became a major speaker for the cause of abolition.
In addition to his oratory, Douglass wrote several autobiographies, eloquently describing his life as a slave, and his struggles to be free. His classic autobiography, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass
, is one of the best known accounts of American slavery.
After the Civil War, Douglass remained very active in America's struggle to reach its potential as a "land of the free". Douglass actively supported women's suffrage. Following the war, he worked on behalf of equal rights for freedmen, and held multiple public offices.
Douglass was a firm believer in the equality of all people, whether black, female, Native American, or recent immigrant. He was fond of saying, "I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong."
n his foreword to the 2003 Modern Library paperback edition, John Stauffer writes: My Bondage and My Freedom
, [is] a deep meditation on the meaning of slavery, race, and freedom, and on the power of faith and literacy, as well as a portrait of an individual and a nation a few years before the Civil War.” As his narrative unfolds, Frederick Douglass—abolitionist, journalist, orator, and one of the most powerful voices to emerge from the American civil rights movement—transforms himself from slave to fugitive to reformer, leaving behind a legacy of social, intellectual, and political thought. The 1855 text includes Douglass’s original Appendix, composed of excerpts from the author’s speeches as well as a letter he wrote to his former master.
Adapted from Wikipedia
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