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Frederick Douglass Timeline

1818  Born a slave, Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, in Talbot County, Maryland. 



Taught to read by his owner's wife. Works in Baltimore as servant and laborer.
Changes his name to Frederick Douglass and escapes to freedom in the
North. Marries Anna Murray, a free Baltimore woman.
1839 First hears abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips. 
1841-1847  Speaks at an abolitionist meeting in Massachusetts and is employed as a
lecturer for the Anti-Slavery society.

Publishes Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave.

Leaves for England and Scotland to escape slave hunters.

1846  English admirers purchase Douglass' freedom and he returns to the US. 

Publishes the North Star, a weekly newspaper in Rochester, New York.
Becomes an eloquent spokesman for emancipation and for the rights of
Meets John Brown in Springfield, Massachusetts.

1848  Attends first Women's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, New York. 
1851  Breaks with Garrison over issue of political action to end slavery, which Garrison opposes. 
1853  Visits Harriet Beecher Stowe at her home.
1855  Publishes his second autobiography, My Bondage and My Freedom. Helps
runaway slaves to find freedom via the Underground Railroad.
1858  John Brown stays at Douglass' home in Rochester while planning to encourage a slave revolt. 
1859  Douglass refuses to support Brown and his planned raid on Harper's Ferry. 
1861-1864  Works to aid the Union cause. Meets with President Lincoln to improve the treatment of African-American soldiers. Attends President Lincoln's second
1865  Receives President Lincoln's walking stick from Mrs. Lincoln. 
1872-1881  Moves to Washington, DC, and purchases Cedar Hill, a fifteen acre estate, in
1878. Becomes federal marshal for the District of Columbia in 1877 and
recorder of deeds in 1881.
1884-1887  Marries Helen Pitts, a white woman from Rochester, New York. They travel to
England, France, Italy, Egypt and Greece in 1886-87.
1889-1891  Appointed minister resident and consul general to the Republic of Haiti.
Resigns and returns to Cedar Hill in 1891. Continues to speak for oppressed
people and as a champion of human rights.
1895  Dies on February 20 at Cedar Hill after attending a women's rights meeting.
Helen Pitts Douglass works to preserve the home in his memory.

Adapted from: Thoughts for all Time: A Frederick Douglass Chronology
National Park Service, National Parks and Conservation Association, and Parks and History Association, 1996 and featured on the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site web page


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