Born into slavery in Maryland in 1818 as Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, Frederick Douglass became one of the most inspiring leaders of the abolitionist movement. The son of an enslaved mother and an unknown white father, Douglass escaped from slavery in Baltimore, and settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts where he made a living through various trades he had learned during his years in slavery. He became very well read, and a popular speaker with the American Anti-Slavery Society. After he published his autobiography in 1845, he toured England, Ireland and the United States giving speeches. Two years later, he started his antislavery paper called the North Star. He split with William Lloyd Garrison over whether the US Constitution should be abolished (Garrison’s position) or could be “wielded in behalf of emancipation,” as Douglass believed. In his later years, he served as advisor to President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. He also fought for the rights of women.
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