Frederick Douglass: From Slave to Leader - Summary

Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born in 1818 near the town of Easton, Maryland. Like most slaves, he did not know his birth date. Like other slaves, he had a black mother and a white father. At the time, folks said his daddy was the plantation master, Aaron Anthony.

Harriet, his mother, was a field hand forced to walk twelve miles - one way - to see her son. She died when her boy was seven. In the whole of his young life, he had only seen her a few times.

When he was about six, young Fred went to work. He would serve the needs of others until he ran away. When he found freedom, he took a new name: Frederick Douglass.

In this story about the famous abolitionist, step back in time to visit the antebellum American South. Learn what life was like for child slaves and why Douglass believed his only real path to freedom was through education. Discover what he endured just to learn how to read and what happened to his wages when he worked off the plantation.

Examine contemporary children’s books, like The Slave’s Friend, which were created to teach children about the evils of slavery. Check out the pictures in The Child’s Anti-Slavery Book which showed what it was like for families to be split-up, then sold.

Meet Douglass and follow his steps as he escaped slavery, married Anna Murray, raised a family and owned a printing press. See the “Bill of Sale” and “Deed” which purported to “sell” him to others. Follow his career as his significant oratory skills propelled him into the national limelight. Learn how two of his sons fought in the Civil War (and in a famous battle memorialized in the film Glory). And ... Visit his Washington home, meet his children, view a video which highlights his life and learn how his writings inspired Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5156stories and lessons created

Original Release: Feb 01, 2005

Updated Last Revision: Feb 26, 2018

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"Frederick Douglass: From Slave to Leader" AwesomeStories.com. Feb 01, 2005. Apr 20, 2019.
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