Frederick Douglass

How are you related to Frederick Douglass?

Connect to the World Family Tree to find out

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Frederick Augustus Washington Douglass (Bailey)

Birthplace: Cordova, Talbot County, Maryland, United States
Death: February 20, 1895 (76-77)
Anacostia, Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, United States (Heart attack )
Place of Burial: Rochester, NY, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Aaron Anthony and Harriet Bailey
Husband of unknown; Anna R. Murray-Douglass and Helen (Pitts) Douglass
Partner of Julia Griffiths and Ottilie Davida Assing
Father of Rosetta Sprague; Sgt. Maj.(USA), Lewis Henry Douglass; Private Frederick Douglass, Jr. (USA); Sgt. (USA), Charles Remond Douglass and Annie Douglass
Brother of Perry Bailey; Sara Bailey; Eliza Mitchell; Kitty Bailey; Arianna Bailey and 1 other
Half brother of Andrew Skinner Anthony; Richard Lee Anthony; Lucretia Planner Auld; James Anthony; Ann Anthony and 1 other

Managed by: Scott Christopher Swingle
Last Updated:

About Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey; c. February 1818 – February 20, 1895) was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, gaining note for his oratory and incisive antislavery writings. In his time, he was described by abolitionists as a living counter-example to slaveholders' arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens. Northerners at the time found it hard to believe that such a great orator had once been a slave.

Douglass wrote several autobiographies, eloquently describing his life as a slave, and his struggles to be free. His first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, was published in 1845 and was his best-known work, influential in gaining support for abolition. He wrote two more autobiographies, with his last, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, published in 1881 and covering events through and after the Civil War. After the Civil War, Douglass remained active in the United States' struggle to reach its potential as a "land of the free". Douglass actively supported women's suffrage. Following the war, he worked on behalf of equal rights for freedmen, and held multiple public offices

Frederick Douglass was born in a slave cabin, in February, 1818, near the town of Easton, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Separated from his mother when only a few weeks old he was raised by his grandparents. At about the age of six, his grandmother took him to the plantation of his master and left him there. Not being told by her that she was going to leave him, Douglass never recovered from the betrayal of the abandonment. When he was about eight he was sent to Baltimore to live as a houseboy with Hugh and Sophia Auld, relatives of his master. It was shortly after his arrival that his new mistress taught him the alphabet. When her husband forbade her to continue her instruction, because it was unlawful to teach slaves how to read, Frederick took it upon himself to learn. He made the neighborhood boys his teachers, by giving away his food in exchange for lessons in reading and writing. At about the age of twelve or thirteen Douglass purchased a copy of The Columbian Orator, a popular schoolbook of the time, which helped him to gain an understanding and appreciation of the power of the spoken and the written word, as two of the most effective means by which to bring about permanent, positive change.

He moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he and his new wife Anna Murray began to raise a family. Whenever he could he attended abolitionist meetings, and, in October, 1841, after attending an anti-slavery convention on Nantucket Island, Douglass became a lecturer for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society and a colleague of William Lloyd Garrison. This work led him into public speaking and writing. He published his own newspaper, The North Star, participated in the first women's rights convention at Seneca Falls, in 1848, and wrote three autobiographies. He was internationally recognized as an uncompromising abolitionist, indefatigable worker for justice and equal opportunity, and an unyielding defender of women's rights. He became a trusted advisor to Abraham Lincoln, United States Marshal for the District of Columbia, Recorder of Deeds for Washington, D.C., and Minister-General to the Republic of Haiti. Frederick Douglass died late in the afternoon or early evening, of Tuesday, 20 February 1895, at his home in Anacostia, Washington, DC.

The Pulitzer Prize winning Frederick Douglass Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight (2018) provides a superior appreciation of Douglass' life (Simon and Schuster ISBN 978-1-4165-9032-3 (pbk), ISBN 978-1-4165-3-9388-1 (ebook))

Life and Times of Frederick Douglass

Abolitionist and Presidential adviser to Abraham Lincoln. Has an impressive estate open for tourists in Washington, DC USA


  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave: Written by ... By Frederick Douglass Page 146 GoogleBooks “Four Maryland Families”
view all 11

Frederick Douglass's Timeline

February 1818
Cordova, Talbot County, Maryland, United States
June 24, 1839
New Bedford, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States
October 9, 1840
New Bedford, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
March 3, 1842
New Bedford, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
Lynn, Essex County, MA, United States
March 22, 1849
February 20, 1895
Age 77
Anacostia, Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, United States
February 25, 1895
Age 77
Mt Hope Cemetery, 1133 Mt Hope Ave, Rochester, NY, United States