New Bedford Massachusetts
Lived there for years
- Brave / Courageous
- A good and strong leader
- Perseverant / Tenacious (keeps going despite challenges)
- Just and fair minded
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African American Orator Who Shaped the Civil War
Frederick Douglass was an African-American abolitionist and orator during the American Civil War.
Born a slave in Talbot County Maryland, Douglass' early life was not easy. He worked on a plantation, enduring the everyday tortures that came along with the life of a slave, until 1838 when he escaped to the north. He arrived in New York, his wife Anna Murray soon to follow. They settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where Douglass began attending abolitionist meetings, inspired to do so by the newspaper "The Liberator." At first Douglass only listened, feeling too timid to address white people, but with the encouragement of a friend, he finally stood up to speak. He quickly became a popular orator at such meetings, and soon was sought-after as a speaker for similar events. Douglass traveled in Britain and Ireland during his thirties, finding it to be refreshing. He wrote of arriving in Ireland, "I gaze around in vain for one who will question my equal humanity, claim me as his slave, or offer me an insult. I employ a cab ”I am seated beside white people” I reach the hotel ”I enter the same door” I am shown into the same parlour” I dine at the same table”and no one is offended... I find myself regarded and treated at every turn with the kindness and deference paid to white people. When I go to church, I am met by no upturned nose and scornful lip to tell me,"‹We don't allow niggers in here!‹" During the Civil War, Douglass was one of the most famous African Americans in the country. His eloquence easily gathered crowds, no matter where he spoke. He even had private meetings with Abraham Lincoln. He described waiting for the Emancipation Proclamation as like "Waiting and listening as for a bolt from the sky ... we were watching ... by the dim light of the stars for the dawn of a new day ... we were longing for the answer to the agonizing prayers of centuries." During the war he served as a recruiter for the north, and continued fighting to help his brethren in the south. Through the war and for years afterwards, Douglass fought for equality for all. He continued speaking all over the country and became the first African American to be nominated for Vice President of the United States. In 1881, he published his autobiography, three years later passing away in Washington D.C., shortly after receiving a standing ovation for speaking at the National Council of Women.
Life in Frederick Douglass's world
Was Frederick Douglass a Hero?
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