Frederick Douglass' Life

  • Frederick Douglass is born

    Frederick Douglass was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, a slave, in Tuckahoe, Talbot County, Maryland. Mother is a slave, Harriet Bailey, and father is a white man, rumored to be his master, Aaron Anthony. He had three older siblings, Perry, Sarah, and Eliza.
  • His Mother Dies

    His mother dies.

    Sent to Baltimore to live with Hugh Auld and his wife Sophia. His master, Aaron Anthony, dies late in the year; Frederick becomes the property of Thomas Auld, Anthony's son-in-law. Thomas Auld sends him back to Hugh Auld.
  • Learns to read

    Frederick Douglass asks Sophia Auld to teach him to read. She does so until Hugh Auld stops them, believing that education makes slaves rebellious.
  • Douglass is sent to get "broken"

    Auld rents him out to farmer Edward Covey, known as a "slave breaker." He is beaten several times and finally fights back. Covey never tries to beat him again.
  • Douglass starts to share his learning to read with other slaves

    Hired out to work for William Freeland, a Talbot County, Maryland, farmer. Secretly organizes Sunday school and teaches other slaves to read.
  • Douglass' first plan to escape fails

    Makes an escape plan but is discovered, jailed, and then released. He returns to work for Hugh and Sophia Auld in Baltimore and is hired out to work as a caulker in a Baltimore shipyard. The knowledge he gains there helps him escape slavery two years later.
  • Douglass' second attempt to escape finally works

    Frederick Douglass borrowed papers from a free black sailor, he escapes from slavery to New York and changes his last name to Johnson.
  • Frederick gets married

    Douglass marries Anna Murray. The ceremony is performed by minister James W. C. Pennington, who is also an escaped Maryland slave.The newlyweds move to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where Frederick works as an unskilled laborer. They stay with caterers Mary and Nathan Johnson. Nathan suggests that Frederick take on the last name Douglas, from a character in Sir Walter Scott's poem The Lady of the Lake. He does so, spelling it Douglass.

    Tries to get job as a caulker, but white workers threaten t
  • Douglass' first daughter is born

    Daughter Rosetta is born.
    Douglass subscribes to William Lloyd Garrison's abolitionist weekly The Liberator. Hears Garrison speaking in April.
    Becomes a licensed preacher for the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.
  • Douglass' 2nd child is born

    Son Lewis Henry is born.
  • Douglass' 3rd child is born

    Son Frederick is born.
  • Douglass' 4th child is born

    Son Charles Remond is born.
  • Douglass' 4th child is born

    Son Charles Remond is born.
  • Douglass' publishes his first book and meets Susan B. Anthony

    Publishes Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. In it, he reveals details that could lead to his arrest as a fugitive slave.
    He meets Susan B. Anthony while on a speaking tour. Later he becomes a champion of women's rights. Begins tour of Great Britain and Ireland, lecturing on slavery with abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. English friends raise money to "purchase" his freedom; Douglass is manumitted after Hugh Auld receives $711.66 in payment.
  • Douglass' 5th child is born

    Daughter Annie is born.
    Hires a tutor to teach his wife, Anna, to read, but the effort is unsuccessful.
  • Period: to

    Douglass makes his own newspaper

    Begins publishing Douglass' Monthly, first as a supplement to Frederick Douglass' Paper. It becomes an independent publication the following year and is distributed until 1863.
  • Douglass' youngest daughter dies

    Daughter Annie dies in Rochester.
  • Douglass' gets away from being charged

    Returns to the United States and is not charged in the John Brown raid.
  • Douglass becomes a recruiter

    Douglass becomes a recruiter for the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, the first regiment of African-American soldiers; his sons Lewis and Charles join the regiment. Eventually his son Frederick Douglass Jr. becomes an army recruiter also. About 180,000 African Americans serve in the Civil War on the Union side.
  • Douglass becomes president of the troubled Freedmen's Savings and Trust Company

    Becomes president of the troubled Freedmen's Savings and Trust Company. Works with the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee to save the bank, which ultimately fails.
  • Anna Murray Douglass dies from a stroke

    Douglass's wife of forty-four years, Anna Murray Douglass, dies after suffering a stroke. Douglass goes into a depression.
  • Douglass gets re-married

    Douglass marries Helen Pitts, a white woman who had been his secretary when he was recorder of deeds. The interracial marriage causes controversy among the Douglasses' friends, family, and the public.
  • Frederick Douglass Dies