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Black History: Frederick Douglass social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman.

Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey; c. February 1817– February 20, 1895) was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman.


Frederick Douglass

He escaped slavery in Maryland, and became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, gaining notoriety for his oratory and incisive antislavery writings. Douglass was described by abolitionists as a living counterexample to the slaveholders' theory that ‘slaves’ lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens.


Douglass spent two years in Ireland and Great Britain, where he gave lectures. His draw was so great that some buildings were "crowded to suffocation". One example was a popular London Reception Speech, which Douglass delivered in May 1846 at Alexander Fletcher's Finsbury Chapel. Douglass remarked that in England he was treated not "as a colour, but as a man.”


In 1846, Douglass met with Thomas Clarkson, one of the last living British abolitionists, who had persuaded Parliament to abolish slavery in Great Britain's colonies. During his trip Douglass became legally free, as British supporters led by Anna Richardson and her sister-in-law Ellen of Newcastle upon Tyne raised funds to buy his freedom from his American owner Thomas Auld. Many supporters tried to encourage Douglass to remain in England but, with his wife still in Massachusetts and three million of his black brethren in bondage in the United States, he returned to America in 1847,


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