Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass (1817-1895) was a writer, an activist, an orator, a philosopher, and an American hero. He was born into slavery in Maryland, and escaped from bondage in 1838. He became a vocal leader of the American abolition movement. In 1845 he published his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself. Douglass traveled around the United States and Great Britain, making speeches about his life and his cause. He also attended the Seneca Falls Convention, and supported the movement for women's suffrage. In 1852, Douglass was invited to speak at a Rochester event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. There, he delivered his most iconic speech, "The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro." At the time of the event, there were 3.2 million people enslaved in the United States.

As you read his autobiography, pay attention to Douglass' thoughts on education. In the speech, consider Douglass' relationships with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Frederick Douglass