Fredrick Douglass Role in the Fight for the Rights of the Blacks

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Fredrick Douglass was born in1818, in Easton Town of Talbot County. Being born in a slave cabin, he was separated from his maternal mother, after only two weeks from birth. He got raised by his grandparents, who took him to their masters plantation at the age of six. Unaware of the scheme to leave him permanently in the hands of the slave master, he suffered the agony of abandonment at a very tender age (, 2016). When he was eight years he travelled to Baltimore to serve Sophia and Hugh Auld.

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Life in Baltimore became bearable as Sophia was very kind to him; it is through her that Fredrick first learnt the alphabets. It only became a problem when her husband realized that she taught the little boy about the alphabets. Her husband immediately forbade Sophia from further teaching Fredrick since it was simply unlawful to guide a slave into literacy. Even after Sophia gave in to her husbands decision, Fredrick still went out of his way to continue in his new found passion to learn (, 2016). He actualized this through giving away his food to the neighborhood children in exchange reading lessons. He bought his first copy of The Columbian Orator at the age of 13 to aid him in mastering both spoken and written English (Guyette, 2013). The buying of this book signified the start of his many dreams and aspirations of bringing a positive and permanent change to the lives of all African slaves.

He made a return to the Eastern Shore when he was fifteen. He became a worker at the fields where he experienced the worst conditions. He was assigned to work for Edward Covey, who constantly mistreated him. At one time, he literally fought with Edward Covey who was a slave breaker in order to restore his sense of self worthiness. After the fight he made several desperate attempts to escape from the Eastern shore, he flopped and was consequently sent back to Baltimore, where he rejoined the Auld family. Finally, his breakthrough came up in 1838, where escaped from slavery after impersonating a sailor assisted by Ann Murray.

Fredrick Douglass role in the fight for the rights of the blacks earned him a historical mark. He fought for the freedom of the slaves during the American Revolution. He suffered at the hands of the white men by working hard at the fields. He worked at the farm of a white man named Lloyd in 1818. This suffering is what prompted Fredrick to begin a revolution. He participated in the civil war of 1861 that had erupted in the United States. The civil war left many people dead and others wounded. He was recruited to the black Troupes and participated at the forefront of the war. His educational skills and influence on the Black Americans impacted the war against slavery. Slavery took a turning point during this time.

Fredrick Douglas attended meetings that were aimed at abolishing slave trade. He did this after escaping from slavery. His work was aimed at helping his fellow men free themselves from bondage. He further changed his name in order to avoid being identified by the white men. Fredrick Douglas travelled all over Massachusetts whereby he formed an alliance with one of the most prominent abolitionists at the time named William Lloyd Garrison. He joined the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society that held several meetings in Massachusetts to discuss on the way forward in fighting slavery. One of the greatest achievements of Fredrick Douglas was that of joining public speaking and writing a newspaper entitled The North Star (Paul, 2008). The newspaper earned Fredrick Douglas prominence in the region.

The womens rights convention that was held at Seneca was attended by Douglas and was aimed at presenting the womens rights and outlining some of the laws governing their rights. The other achievement of Fredrick Douglass is that of being an advisor to the then president Abraham Lincoln. He was also known for participating in national events and offering advice to other government officials. He advocated for equality among all the citizens and asked for equal womens rights. In the same year (1848) he was recognized internationally as a promising abolitionist, and a shrewd worker of justice and equality. With the coming of President Lincoln to power, his efforts to liberalize the slaves bore fruits as the president declared all slaves free in 1863 (Ellis, 2014). He scaled into his works earning a coveted role of becoming a trusted advisor to the President Abraham Lincoln (Paul, 2008). He also became the Minister General to Haitian Republic. In 1845 Douglass wrote his autobiography by the name The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass. This narrative touched many people who were reading it such that they could not accept that Douglass was the slave who had escaped. Due to his audacity and bravery he was welcomed by many people such that even the whites began to think differently on slave trade.

Douglass married Anna Murray who was a free woman and together they had children. They went to live in Massachusetts where they raised their family. Through continued support from reformists and fellow civil activists the war on the abolition of slave trade became intense. The tensions that were there created civil war which led to a revolution. It is at the onset of this civil war that Douglass felt ready to lead the slaves into freedom. He advised Abraham Lincoln to allow him to select some of the Africans who were to form the African American troops to wage war against their enemies. Two of his sons joined the war and fought for their country. Douglass was such a charismatic leader and a true son of America. One of the famous quotes of Fredrick Douglas is What is possible for me is possible for you (Douglas, 2014). This quote depicted the true nature of Fredrick who wanted each and everyone to be equal. He also referred to the whites disregard towards the blacks.

In 1884, came a shocker in the life of Fredrick as his wife Ann died. He later married Hellen Pitts, who was a white feminist and a fellow abolitionist. Although their marriage displeased their children from their former marriage, they stayed together and continued in the fight for equality and justice. At his death on the 20th day of February, 1895, the world lost a statesman who embodied three vital keys to success in this life: Belief in self, Taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves, Use of power to speak and write to effect a positive change in the society. Africans got liberated from the aspects of slavery due to the century-long fight to liberate them (Kilbride, 2014)

His lead on the moral crusade in 1861 was successful in the fight against slavery. For many years the Africans received poor treatment from their masters. The majority were whipped and beaten if they did not fulfill the desires of the whites. The black Americans were made to believe that they were inferior whereas the whites were superior. This belief bound the Africans to the mistreatments of the white men. Slave trade was considered a form of enterprise by the white men who could purchase as many slaves as possible. The whites could be identified as influential due to the number of slaves that were serving them. Even after running away from the South, Douglass did not lose touch with that area. Instead, he still insisted on travelling to visit that area during his older years. As he grew old, Douglass was able to write more journals and biographies. Douglass gained his knowledge through reading of many historical books. It is the knowledge that he gathered that helped him aid in the revolution and civil war (Bernier, 2011).

In conclusion, Fredrick Douglas can be considered as a hero for saving the blacks from slavery. He is also known for his fight on equality and distribution of resources to each and everyone regardless of race or color. Besides these achievements, he also went through challenges especially during the economic crisis in America that saw men companies go bankrupt. In his memoirs, Fredrick Douglas outlines the experiences he went through in the chase for freedom for the slaves. Fredrick died in 1895 at an old age.


Bernier, C. (2011). The Cambridge Companion to Frederick Douglass. Slavery & Abolition, 32(2), 325-327.

Douglass, R. (2014). Fugitive Rousseau: Slavery, primitivism and political freedom. Contemp Polit Theory, 14(2), e220-e223.

Ellis, C. (2014). Amoral Abolitionism: Frederick Douglass and the Environmental Case against Slavery. American Literature, 86(2), 275-303.

Frederick,. (2016). Biography of Frederick Douglass-Champion of Civil and Women's Rights. Retrieved 22 February 2016, from

Guyette, F. (2013). Garrison versus Douglass on the abolition of slavery: An Ethics of Conviction versus an Ethics of Responsibility. Max Weber Studies, 13(2), 254.

Kilbride, D. (2014). What did Africa Mean to Frederick Douglass?. Slavery & Abolition, 36(1), 40-62.

Paul A. Cimbala,. (2008). Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the End of Slavery. Reviews In American History, 36(2), 201-208.

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