Frederick Douglass - A Biography
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Frederick Douglass - A Biography

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Project Gutenberg's Frederick Douglass, by Charles Waddell ChesnuttThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.netTitle: Frederick Douglass A BiographyAuthor: Charles Waddell ChesnuttRelease Date: February 8, 2004 [EBook #10986]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK FREDERICK DOUGLASS ***Produced by Suzanne Shell, Bradley Norton and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team[Illustration]FREDERICK DOUGLASS 1899Charles ChesnuttThe Beacon biographies of eminent Americans. Includes bibliographical references (p.).PrefaceFrederick Douglass lived so long, and played so conspicuous a part on the world's stage, that it would be impossible, ina work of the size of this, to do more than touch upon the salient features of his career, to suggest the respects in whichhe influenced the course of events in his lifetime, and to epitomize for the readers of another generation the judgment ofhis contemporaries as to his genius and his character.Douglass's fame as an orator has long been secure. His position as the champion of an oppressed race, and at thesame time an example of its possibilities, was, in his own generation, as picturesque as it was unique; and his life mayserve for all time as an incentive to aspiring souls who would fight the battles ...

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Published 08 December 2010
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Project Gutenberg's Frederick Douglass, byCharles Waddell ChesnuttThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere atno cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under theterms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netTitle: Frederick Douglass A BiographyAuthor: Charles Waddell ChesnuttRelease Date: February 8, 2004 [EBook #10986]Language: English***START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK FREDERICK DOUGLASS ***Produced by Suzanne Shell, Bradley Norton andthe Online Distributed Proofreading Team[Illustration]
FREDERICK DOUGLASS 1899Charles ChesnuttThe Beacon biographies of eminent Americans.Includes bibliographical references (p.).PrefaceFrederick Douglass lived so long, and played soconspicuous a part on the world's stage, that itwould be impossible, in a work of the size of this,to do more than touch upon the salient features ofhis career, to suggest the respects in which heinfluenced the course of events in his lifetime, andto epitomize for the readers of another generationthe judgment of his contemporaries as to hisgenius and his character.Douglass's fame as an orator has long beensecure. His position as the champion of anoppressed race, and at the same time an exampleof its possibilities, was, in his own generation, aspicturesque as it was unique; and his life mayserve for all time as an incentive to aspiring soulswho would fight the battles and win the love ofmankind. The average American of to-day whosees, when his attention is called to it, anddeplores, if he be a thoughtful and just man, thedeep undertow of race prejudice that retards theprogress of the colored people of our owngeneration, cannot, except by reading the painfulrecords of the past, conceive of the mental and
spiritual darkness to which slavery, as theinexorable condition of its existence, condemnedits victims and, in a less measure, theiroppressors, or of the blank wall of proscription andscorn by which free people of color were shut up ina moral and social Ghetto, the gates of which haveyet not been entirely torn down.From this night of slavery Douglass emerged,passed through the limbo of prejudice which heencountered as a freeman, and took his place inhistory. "As few of the world's great men have everhad so checkered and diversified a career," saysHenry Wilson, "so it may at least be plausiblyclaimed that no man represents in himself moreconflicting ideas and interests. His life is, in itself,an epic which finds few to equal it in the realms ofeither romance or reality." It was, after all, nomisfortune for humanity that Frederick Douglassfelt the iron hand of slavery; for his genius changedthe drawbacks of color and condition into levers bywhich he raised himself and his people.The materials for this work have been near athand, though there is a vast amount of which lackof space must prevent the use. Acknowledgment ishere made to members of the Douglass family foraid in securing the photograph from which thefrontispiece is reproduced.The more the writer has studied the records ofDouglass's life, the more it has appealed to hisimagination and his heart. He can claim no specialqualification for this task, unless perhaps it be a
profound and in some degree a personal sympathywith every step of Douglass's upward career.Belonging to a later generation, he was onlyprivileged to see the man and hear the orator afterhis life-work was substantially completed, but oftenenough then to appreciate something of thestrength and eloquence by which he impressed hiscontemporaries. If by this brief sketch the writercan revive among the readers of anothergeneration a tithe of the interest that Douglasscreated for himself when he led the forlorn hope ofhis race for freedom and opportunity, his labor willbe amply repaid.Charles W. ChesnuttCleveland, October, 1899CHRONOLOGY1817Frederick Douglass was born at Tuckahoe, nearEaston, Talbot County,Maryland.1825Was sent to Baltimore to live with a relative of hismaster.1833March. Was taken to St. Michaels, Maryland, to
live again with his master.1834January. Was sent to live with Edward Covey,slave-breaker, with whom he spent the year.1835-36Hired to William Freeland. Made an unsuccessfulattempt to escape from slavery, Was sent toBaltimore to learn the ship-calkers trade.1838May. Hired his own time and worked at his trade.September 3. Escaped from slavery and went toNew York City. Married Miss Anna Murray. Went toNew Bedford, Massachusetts. Assumed the nameof "Douglass."1841Attended anti-slavery convention at New Bedfordand addressed the meeting. Was employed asagent of the Massachusetts Anti-slavery Society.1842Took part in Rhode Island campaign against theDorr constitution.Lectured on slavery. Moved to Lynn,Massachusetts.
1843Took part in the famous "One HundredConventions" of the New EnglandAnti-slavery Society.1844Lectured with Pillsbury, Foster, and others.1845Published Frederick Douglass's Narrative.1845-46Visited Great Britain and Ireland. Remained inEurope two years, lecturing on slavery and othersubjects. Was presented by English friends withmoney to purchase his freedom and to establish anewspaper.1847Returned to the United States. Moved with hisfamily to Rochester, NewYork. Established the North Star, subsequentlyrenamed FrederickDouglass's Paper. Visited John Brown atSpringfield, Massachusetts.1848Lectured on slavery and woman suffrage.
1849Edited newspaper. Lectured against slavery.Assisted the escape of fugitive slaves.1850May 7. Attended meeting of Anti-slavery Society atNew York City. Running debate with CaptainRynders.1852Supported the Free Soil party. Elected delegatefrom Rochester to Free Soil convention atPittsburg, Pennsylvania. Supported John P. Halefor the Presidency.1853Visited Harriet Beecher Stowe at Andover,Massachusetts, with reference to industrial schoolfor colored youth.1854Opposed repeal of Missouri Compromise.June 12. Delivered commencement address atWestern Reserve College, Hudson, Ohio.1855Published My Bondage and My Freedom. March.Addressed the New York legislature.
1856Supported Fremont, candidate of the Republicanparty.1858Established Douglass's Monthly. Entertained JohnBrown at Rochester.1859August 20. Visited John Brown at Chambersburg,Pennsylvania.May 12 [October]. Went to Canada to avoid arrestfor alleged complicity in the John Brown raid.November 12. Sailed from Quebec for England.Lectured and spoke in England and Scotland forsix months.1860Returned to the United States. Supported Lincolnfor the Presidency.1862Lectured and spoke in favor of the war and againstslavery.1863Assisted in recruiting Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth
Massachusetts colored regiments. Invited to visitPresident Lincoln.1864Supported Lincoln for re-election.1866Was active in procuring the franchise for thefreedmen.September. Elected delegate from Rochester toNational Loyalists' Convention at Philadelphia.1869 [1870]Moved to Washington, District of Columbia.Established [Edited and then bought] the NewNational Era.1870Appointed secretary of the Santo DomingoCommission by PresidentGrant.1872Appointed councillor of the District of Columbia.[Moved family there after a fire (probably arson)destroyed their Rochester home and Douglass'snewspaper files.] Elected presidential elector of theState of New York, and chosen by the electoralcollege to take the vote to Washington.
1876Delivered address at unveiling of Lincoln statue atWashington.1877Appointed Marshal of the District of Columbia byPresident Hayes.1878Visited his old home in Maryland and met his oldmaster.1879Bust of Douglass placed in Sibley Hall, ofRochester University. Spoke against the proposednegro exodus from the South.1881Appointed recorder of deeds for the District ofColumbia.1882January. Published Life and Times of FrederickDouglass, the third and last of his autobiographies.August 4. Mrs. Frederick Douglass died.1884February 6. Attended funeral of Wendell Phillips.