Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was a formerly enslaved man who became a prominent activist, author and public speaker. He became a leader in the abolitionist movement, which sought to end the practice of slavery, before and during the Civil War. After that conflict and the Emancipation Proclamation of 1862, he continued to push for equality and human rights until his death in 1895.

Douglass’ 1845 autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, described his time as an enslaved worker in Maryland. It was one of three autobiographies he penned, along with dozens of noteworthy speeches, despite receiving minimal formal education.

An advocate for women’s rights, and specifically the right of women to vote, Douglass’ legacy as an author and leader lives on. His work served as an inspiration to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and beyond.