Thursday, February 4, 2016

American Abolitionists with Mystery of History

Just in time for Black History Month.

Frederick Douglass-Civil Rights leader.

*Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born in 1818 to a slave woman (Harriet Bailey) and (possibly) her white slave master (Aaron Anthony).  The exact date in 1818 is unknown.

*His mother Harriet was the only woman of color who could read in Tuckahoe, and his grandmother, Betsy Bailey, was a nurse.

*Douglass became separated from his mother at a young age.  She walked in the dark 12 miles back and forth to see him a handful of times in secret.

*Douglass wanted to read more than anything as a young boy.  He was taught by children who lived close to him.  He paid them with slices of bread for the lessons.  He learned every word in Webster's Spelling book

*Douglass attempted to escape from slavery at the age of 17 but he was caught and put in jail.  After this, he changed his name from Bailey to Johnson and then later to Douglass.

*He married a free black woman named Anna.  They were married 44 years before she died. Together they had five children.   Interestingly enough, his second wife was a white woman named Helen Pitts (her parents came over on the Mayflower, John and Priscilla Alden).  Pitts was 20 years younger than Douglass and the families were not supportive of the marriage.

*Douglass met with President Lincoln at least three times.
Four of the Douglass children

*Douglass was a republican.

*Douglass made $450 a year working for the American Antislavery Society.

*After slavery was officially abolished, he was paid $100+ for his speeches.  His most famous speech was Self Made Men.

*Douglass was the first African-American to hold a high U.S. government rank.

*Douglass died of a massive heart attack and died February 20, 1895 at his Cedar Hill house at the age of 77.  He is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, New York, in section A.

Cedar Hill

Fun facts:

~Did you know he was nominated to be vice president by the Equal Rights Party?

~He was also the first African-American to buy a house in the Washington area (Cedar Hill).

~Did you know Douglass was 6 feet 4 inches tall?  That is the same height as Lincoln!

~He liked to be fashionable and dress up.

~His favorite authors were Shakespeare and Dickens.

~Douglass was licensed to preach for the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

~He created the North Star Newspaper.

There are so many more things to the credit of  Douglass but as you can see from this brief outline, there is no doubt he was an eloquent speaker, a phenomenal politician, a great writer, and a very courageous man!

Learn more here and here.

My favorite Douglass quote.  Broken men cannot not be fixed and there are way too many running around today!

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