When Was Frederick Douglass Born

When Was Frederick Douglass Born?

Frederick Douglass was born on February 14, 1818. This name resonates powerfully in the annals of American history. Recognized as a great orator, writer, and statesman, Douglass’s journey from being born into slavery to becoming a revered figure in the fight for emancipation and civil rights is genuinely awe-inspiring. The trajectory of his life serves as a testament to his determination, intelligence, and ceaseless struggle for justice. Dive into the world of Frederick Douglass, unravel his life year by year, and gain a deeper understanding of the man behind the legend.

Frederick Douglass

Quick Fact About Frederick Douglass

Full Name:Frederick Douglass
Relationship Status:Married
Nick Name:Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey
Date of Birth:Circa February 1818
Height:6′ 2″
Net Worth:Information not publicly available
Occupation:Abolitionist | Orator | Writer
Death Date:February 20, 1895

Frederick Douglass’ Slavery Life and Escape

Frederick Douglass was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, the son of an enslaved woman named Harriet Bailey and an unknown white father, likely her owner. Douglass grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland without knowing the identity of his father. At age 8, he was sent to work on the plantation of Hugh and Sophia Auld in Baltimore. Sophia defied state law by teaching Douglass to read until her husband forbade it. Teaching enslaved people to read was seen as dangerous.

As a teenager, Douglass was hired to work under the cruel overseer Edward Covey, who severely beat him. In 1838, Douglass escaped by boarding a train to the North using identification papers from a free black sailor. He went to New York and married Anna Murray, a free black woman who had helped fund his escape. The couple settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts and took the last name, Douglass. In 1841, Douglass delivered his first public speech at an anti-slavery meeting, establishing himself as a powerful orator.

Siblings and Separation

Douglass had several siblings, but like many enslaved families, they were scattered and sold to different plantations. This dispersion was a deliberate strategy employed by enslavers to prevent familial bonds from solidifying, making it easier to manage and control enslaved individuals.

Childhood Experiences

Growing up, Frederick witnessed the horrors of slavery firsthand. The brutal treatment of his relatives and fellow enslaved people left indelible marks on his young psyche. One of the most haunting memories from his childhood was witnessing his Aunt Hester being whipped by their overseer. Such incidents ignited a burning desire in Douglass to challenge and eventually overthrow the institution of slavery.

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Family Life After Escape

Douglass’s family life after his escape from slavery in 1838 provided him with stability, love, and a haven from the tumultuous world outside. Their home became a sanctuary, not just for them but for other abolitionists and freedom seekers as well. Anna Murray-Douglass, whom Frederick married shortly after his escape, was a formidable woman in her own right. Born free in Denton, Maryland, she moved to Baltimore as a young woman, where she worked as a laundress.

It was in Baltimore that she met and formed a bond with Frederick. Instrumental in aiding his escape by providing funds and necessary resources, Anna was a cornerstone of Douglass’s life. They shared 44 years, during which Anna primarily managed the household and raised their children, allowing Frederick to focus on his abolitionist work.

Abolitionist Leader

Douglass became a renowned abolitionist, travelling extensively to lecture against slavery. He published his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an enslaved American, in 1845. Fearing capture after the book’s publication, Douglass fled to the United Kingdom and continued speaking publicly. British supporters raised funds to purchase his legal freedom in 1846.

Returning to the U.S. as a free man, Douglass started an abolitionist newspaper called the North Star. He conferred with President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and pushed for黑人 regiments within the Union Army. After the war, Douglass continued advocating for civil rights and women’s suffrage. He published two more autobiographies detailing his life’s work. Douglass died in 1895 at approximately age 77. His exact birth date remains unknown, but his enormous impact on the fight for freedom and equality lives on.

Frederick Douglass Timeline by Year

  • 1818: Born on February 14 in Talbot County, Maryland.
  • 1838: Successfully escaped from slavery, relocating to the North.
  • 1841: Started his oratory journey, speaking at abolitionist meetings.
  • 1845: Published his first autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.”
  • 1855: Released “My Bondage and My Freedom,” his second autobiography.
  • 1863: Consulted with President Abraham Lincoln on the issue of African American soldiers in the Civil War.
  • 1881: Published “Life and Times of Frederick Douglass,” his third and last autobiography.
  • 1895: Passed away on February 20.

Yes, after the Civil War and emancipation, Douglass returned to Maryland and even purchased the home of his former master.

Douglass wrote three versions of his autobiography throughout his life.

Douglass held several government positions, including U.S. Marshal for the District of Columbia and Minister to Haiti.

He was around 20 when he escaped slavery in 1838 by boarding a train to the North.

He became a famous orator, author, and abolitionist. He published autobiographies and newspapers and lectured extensively against slavery.


Frederick Douglass was born into bondage around 1818, destined for a life of slavery. Through perseverance and courage, he escaped and embarked on a journey that led him to become one of the most influential African-American voices of the 19th century. Douglass dedicated his life to fighting for freedom, equality, and justice. His powerful story and activism continue to inspire people around the world today. Though his exact birth date remains a mystery, the legacy of Frederick Douglass lives on.

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