Local legend has long stood that young Fred belonged to the Lloyds of Wye House. This is simply untrue. Fred, his grandmother and his mother were owned by the Anthony family. Aaron Anthony, the patriarch of this clan, worked as chief overseer of the Lloyd farms, and his main place of residence was the small house now known as the Captain's House at the Wye plantation. Fred spent the early years of his life at Anthony’s secondary residence, Holme Hill Farm. Frederick was raised by his grandmother, Betsy; his mother had been "rented out" to another farm farther north on the Shore. Betsy was a strong and independent woman, a female figure (among several others) who would influence Frederick's deep lifelong respect for women. She was a slave woman, married to a free black man, who was allowed, outside of her regular daily duties, to earn her own living by cultivating vegetables and hand-crafting seine nets for fishing.
Lucretia Anthony Auld, having recognized Fred's amazing potential, arranged for him to leave the Eastern Shore, although she and her family would retain official ownership of him. With Aaron Anthony's health fading, Fred was sent to live with Lucretia's brother-in-law and his family in the Fells Point shipbuilding area of Baltimore. Sophia Auld, his kind new mistress, gave him basic reading skills while teaching her own young son. Fred's lessons were stopped, though, by her husband, Hugh, who believed it was against the law (and the strict social codes) to teach a slave to read. Undaunted, Fred finished teaching himself to read, using old school papers and The Columbia Orator, a textbook on oratory which used many of history and literature's greatest speeches, most of which dealt with the rights of freedom and democracy. This experience would symbolize to Frederick, later in life, the first time he understood, not only the true meaning of freedom, but also the power of words. Through his education and his later conversion to religion, young Frederick galvanized his plan to escape the confines of slavery and live as a free man.
When Aaron Anthony died in October 1826, Frederick spent the next few years of his life being bounced back and forth between Talbot County and Baltimore as the Anthony relatives determined the division of the estate. As he entered his rebellious teenage years, Hugh and Sophia Auld felt unable to care for him any longer and returned him to Talbot County. Lucretia had since died but ownership of Frederick belonged to her husband, Captain Thomas Auld, and his new wife, who lived on Talbot Street in St. Michaels. Auld ran a small store and the post office on Cherry Street and Fred, living in the crowded household, just did not manage to keep out of trouble. After Frederick was caught teaching a Sabbath school to slave men (and the neighbors threatened to shoot him if he weren't brought to task), Frederick was rented out to Covey, a reputed "slave breaker" in McDaniel, and to the Freelands in St. Michaels. While at the Freeland farm, Frederick and five other men plotted to escape in a canoe up the Chesapeake Bay to Pennsylvania. Their plan is discovered and five of them, including Frederick, were brought to jail, dragged from St. Michaels to Easton tied behind horses and jeered at in every hamlet along the way. Thomas Auld left Frederick in jail for a week, anxiously awaiting his fate in fear of being "sold South" as slave dealers from offices on Easton's Federal, Market, and Washington streets came to examine him. Eventually, Thomas Auld paid his bail and sent him by steamboat back to Fells Point to Hugh. Frederick was allowed to return to his job as a caulker in the shipyards, which he had learned during his previous stay, and to keep a small percentage of his wages. It was in Baltimore that Frederick met Anna Murray, a free black woman from the Eastern Shore's Caroline County, living in Baltimore. She encouraged him to seek his freedom and, according to family legend, sold a feather bed to buy his train ticket. Disguised as a sailor, Fred Bailey walked onto a train in Baltimore on September 3, 1838, escaped north to freedom, and became Frederick Douglass.
In 1839, as the newly emerged Frederick Douglass (an alias chosen from a book he had read) Frederick quickly became a favorite speaker on the abolitionist and anti-slavery circuit, traveling throughout the country and the world to shed light on the horrors of America's "peculiar institution" and the harsh realities of the racial structure. He was a powerful orator and influential political figure, using his personal experiences to give a human face to the sufferings and evils of slavery; when he spoke of beatings, lashings, starvation, and cruelty, he was speaking from his own life experiences. His personal memories and knowledge of the slave experience formed a forceful two-pronged attack on America's racial problems: the slave system in the South and rampant racial prejudice in the North. He was radically different from the rest of the abolitionists of his era, who were, for the most part, upper-class white citizens. Unlike them, he was not just speaking out against a moral public wrong but also against something that he hated personally. He was certainly not the only runaway slave on the abolitionist circuit but, because of his self-training in oratory, he was by far the most powerful speaker. It is interesting to note that a good share of his public speaking career occurred while he was still legally enslaved and therefore subject to capture and return to slavery. It was not until 1848, after several years of active and prominent antislavery work in America and Europe, that a handful of British admirers raised £150 to buy his freedom. After the Civil War and the emancipation, Douglass continued to tour the country speaking out in favor of equal rights, the importance of education for African Americans, fair employment and against prejudice, lynchings, "Jim Crow" and other forms of oppression.
The Life Of Frederick Douglass History Essay.
Essays: Frederick Douglass October 10, 2012Posted by essay-writerin Free essays According to Frederick Douglass, slaves were absolutely deprived of all human rights and were treated by slave holders as mere �property� (102).
Why is he considered so historically important? First, Douglass is one of the earliest celebrated minorities, one of the few who was recognized and acclaimed even in his own time. Second, Frederick Douglass is the ultimate self-made man. As a society, we continually revere the person who can rise from low beginnings to achieve great heights, and Douglass, rising from the ultimate rags of slavery to the riches of fame and political stature, is the perfect example of the American ideal. And, last, Douglass' life and his battles represent many of the most important and socially significant issues in American history and especially in the rapidly changing society of the 19th century. The struggles that defined Douglass' life and the firm belief he held in the equality of all humans remain relevant and significant today.
Frederick Douglass is now considered a major historical figure. Thousands of scholarly and popular works for adults and children are devoted to the life, beliefs and personality of Frederick Douglass; a major paradigm shift in the study of history over the last 30 years has allowed not only for the study of an African-American man but also the admission that he was, in fact, a major contributor to life and society in the 19th century. There are numerous museums and historic sites dedicated to his life and work, including those in his adopted hometowns of Baltimore, Rochester and Washington, D.C. The name of Frederick Douglass can be found on schools, parks, libraries and other public buildings in almost every community in this country.
Rising from the harsh and bitter realities of his childhood as a Talbot County slave, Frederick Douglass grew to be a noted orator, writer, publisher, politician, entrepreneur, political activist, national celebrity and historical figure. He left an indelible mark on the social, economic and political landscape of the 19th century, and will forever stand as one of Talbot County's most important native sons.
In the midst of all his fame and celebrity, he never lost his love for Maryland and the Eastern Shore. He would make four return trips to Talbot County over the next 40 years. In June of 1877, he returned to St. Michaels to make peace with Captain Thomas Auld, whom he had bitterly (and, as he admitted then, unfairly) denounced in his abolitionist newspaper. In November of 1878, he returned to Easton as a guest of the Talbot County Republican Party, to make speeches at two African Methodist Episcopal churches and to a mixed audience in the main courtroom in the Court House. During this trip he also made a pilgrimage to Tappers Corner to try to find his grandmother's cabin and his birthplace. Unfortunately, the cabin was gone. In June 1881, Douglass returned to Wye House for the first time since his boyhood, and was received by the then-owner's 18-year-old son and given a glass of wine in the house. And, on his final trip in March of 1893, he was reportedly in Talbot County to examine possible retirement homes. Up to his death in 1895, Douglass never lost his fondness for the landscape, culture and community of the Eastern Shore.
Blight, David W. Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln: A Relationship in Language, Politics, and Memory. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 2001.
Douglass, Frederick. Life and Times of Frederick Douglass: His Early Life as a Slave, His Escape from Bondage, and His Complete History to the Present Time. Boston, 1892.