Frederick Douglas, One Of The Foremost Leaders Of The Abolitionist Movement

2436 words - 10 pages

Frederick Douglass has been considered one of the foremost leaders of the abolitionist movement, which he fought to end slavery in the United States in the period just prior to the Civil War. He was recognized as one of America's first great black speakers. Douglass also served as an adviser to President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. Frederick Douglass fought for the adoption of constitutional amendments that guaranteed voting rights and other civil liberties for blacks. Douglass provided a powerful voice in human rights.Douglass was the son of a slave, Harriet Bailey, and was largely self-educated. Poor treatment instilled him hatred of slavery. He failed in an attempt to escape in 1836, but two years later he succeeded and went to New York. (Wagnalls 307). Alone in New York, Douglass realized that although he was free, he was not free of cares. While he was in New York, he learned that southern slave catchers were roaming around looking for fugitives to take into work for them. In the process of looking for a place to live Douglass met a man involved in the underground railroad, a network of people who harbored runaway slaves and helped transport them to safe areas in the United States. (Nichols 25). This was Frederick's first encounter with the underground railroad. Douglass was transported to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where his name was changed and he had a place to live. Douglass found that New Bedford was practically a paradise for slaves. (Wagnalls 307). There still were some down sides towards blacks. Although there were black and white children attending the same schools, some public lecture halls were closed to blacks. Churches welcomed blacks but forced them to sit in separate sections. Worst of all, black tradesman were not allowed to work next to whites. All of these examples of the poor treatment toward blacks angered Frederick. He decided to himself that he was going to do something about the poor treatment directed toward slaves. The first step he took was subscribing to the Liberator, a newspaper edited by the Anti-Slavery Society. (Wish 58). This news paper was what first set Douglass toward being an abolitionist.Inevitably, Douglass became involved in the abolitionist, regularly attending many lectures in New Bedford. He became a member of the American Anti-Slavery Society. (Wish 59). This society was mainly composed of white leaders and black abolitionists sometimes had a difficult time making their voices heard within the movement. Nonetheless, Douglass was determined to reduce racial prejudice throughout America. He became very involved with the local black community. In March of 1839 some of his statements about anticolonization in Africa were published in the Liberator. (Rose 126). Two years later, Douglass saw his hero, William Lloyd Garrison, for the first time at an abolitionist meeting. (Wish 59) Garrison was one of the leaders of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Garrison immediately recognized Douglass's...

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