Frederick Douglass Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: February 14, 1817 in Talbot County, Maryland
Died: February 28, 1895 in Washington, District of Columbia
Biography | show moreshow less
As the 19th-century leader and spokesman for Afro-Americans, Fredrick Douglass became known as the Black Lion by the time he held the position as District Recorder of Deeds. An escaped slave prior to the Civil War (1861-1865), he was befriended by influential abolitionists and the well-educated. In return, he became a public speaker in the abolitionist circuit. Rapidly developing his oratory skills, Douglass became nationally known and respected. During the War, he moved to Washington, D.C. where his influence upon President Abraham Lincoln pressured him into drafting the Emancipation Proclamation (January 1, 1863). Although it did not free any slaves at that time, it did allow that as federal troops took command of areas in rebellion against the United States, slaves in those areas would be freed. Douglass, a natural leader with an acute sense of equality, also urged Lincoln to form slave regiments, thus providing a form of employment and self-respect for those into the army's ranks at that time. Meanwhile Douglass, the publisher of abolitionist newspapers in the North, became the first black man to hold a high-ranking office in the government of the United Sates when he was appointed Marshal of the District of Columbia in 1877. In the District, he went on to oversee the purchase of property including his own home on Cedar hill - an estate overlooking the Capitol and former home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. When named Recorder of Deeds by President James Garfield, Douglass found it essentially a figurehead position; however, he had already accomplished much for his race and accepted the position on behalf of all blacks. Known as slave Fredrick Bailey, Douglass had accomplished a daring escape from the bondage of his strict master, Thomas Auld, in 1838, fleeing to New York, then Massachusetts. Aided by William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879), Douglass learned to read and write. In 1841, he was hired by the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society as a representative. He also apprenticed in printing and become an abolitionist publisher of the North Star (1847), which became Fredrick Douglass' Paper in 1851

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