Ken Burns Classroom

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass
Image of Frederick Douglass, taken in 1855.

1817–1895

From escaped slave to worldwide advocate of abolition and social justice, Frederick Douglass’s larger-than-life presence spanned the 19th century. As a young man, Douglass fled his Maryland plantation for the North and points overseas, earning enough from his autobiography to purchase his freedom. He pressed Lincoln to enlist blacks and pronounce emancipation. After the war, he held various government positions.

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