Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey Douglass was born without the Douglass name. He was a Bailey, named after his slave mother. During his work as an African American activist for freedom from slavery and rights as freemen, he adopted a new surname, Douglass. This article focuses on details about his early adult years as an advocate for equal rights.
1. After escaping from his master’s control, Frederick Bailey learned to caulk. He worked out an agreement with his master to pay him $3.00 per week in order not to be returned, and Frederick kept the rest of the slim earnings. The funds he kept became his leave-for-the-northern-states money.
2. His escape from the south happened when he donned a merchant sailor’s uniform that he purchased and when he borrowed travel papers from a colored sailor. His route included rail and steamboat and landed him in New York City.
3. Anna Murray came to wed him and they moved to Massachusetts.
4. At the suggestion of a Massachusetts abolitionist, the Baileys changed their surname to Douglass. This last name came from a character in Walter Scott’s novel entitled Lady of the Lake.
5. He wrote two heroic autobiographies to encourage and inspire other slaves to seek out a fuller life instead of one that barred them based on color and a slave past. His first autobiography was In His Own Words (1845), followed by My Bondage and My Freedom (1855); and lastly The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881).
6. His first trip to England was one of flight to avoid being pulled back into slavery. His book In His Own Words was well known in some circles in England.
7. In 1846 he had so many British who supported his viewpoints that they decided to have him released forever from slavery by buying his liberty from his former master, which would allow him to persist in being a promoter for non-slavery.
8. Upon his homecoming to America as a freeman, he began the North Star newspaper. He minced no words in his paper about his activism to end slavery.
9. Always a writer, he started the Frederick Douglass Monthly and wrote a novella which he published within its pages. The novella was entitled The Heroic Slave and was in print in 1853. At this time Frederick was about 35, still a young man forging his convictions against a country smoldering over slavery.
10. He wrote “what is possible for me is possible for you.”
Ashley Wolf Essay on Frederick Douglass at Heritage High School http://www.milestonedocuments.com/people/view/frederick-douglass/impact http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/d/frederick_douglass/index.html http://www.alincolnlearning.us/FrederickDouglassLearningActivity.html