Frederick Douglass’ Life

A Short Story

by Colin Marx

His Birth

Frederick Douglass was born to a slave mother. His exact date of birth is unknown. His father is also unknown but it is believed that his father was the White master of his mother, because his mother was a slave who worked in the master’s home. Frederick was initially raised by his maternal grandmother. At the age of 6 Frederick was sold to another plantation. He never saw his mother again.

Slave Life part 1

While living as a slave, Frederick was taught to read and write by the mistress of the plantation. At the time, it was illegal to teach slaves to read or write so Frederick was one of the few slaves who was able read and write. This was a unique skill that was very valuable to Frederick later in life. While growing up on the plantation the slave owner and masters who ruled the slaves recognized Frederick as a slave who showed independence.

Slave Life part 2

This was seen as something that should be punished among slaves and the punishment was to repeatedly and brutally beat Frederick. These beatings only made Frederick more determined to be independent. At the age of 18 he received a very bad beating but he fought back and overpowered the White man who attacked him. After this incident he never received another beating from the slave masters.

Escaping with Love

When Frederick was a young man he met a woman who was a slave in a neighboring plantation and fell in love. They made a plan to escape the plantations which they did shortly thereafter. The two escaped initially to Delaware and then to Philadelphia. From there they took a train to New Bedford, MA, which was a popular place for former slaves at the time. Once settled in New Bedford, Frederick and the woman were married. He obtained work at the local shipyard.

A Photograph of Frederick and a Famous Saying

Frederick Befriends An Abolitionist

Shortly after arriving in New Bedford, Frederick became friends with a well-known abolitionist who lived in Cambridge, MA. A few abolitionists made the only abolitionist newspaper at the time and frequently spoke on the horrors of slavery. A few years later Frederick attended his talks and the two quickly became friends.

Frederick Becomes an Abolitionist

The abolitionist convinced Frederick to tell his slavery story to a White audience so they would become more aware of how bad slavery was. When he spoke to the audience the abolitionist realized what a great public speaker Frederick was. The abolitionist told Frederick his slavery story was compelling, he was an excellent speaker, and continuing to tell his story would advance the abolitionist movement. Although Frederick was uncomfortable with public speaking, he agreed because he was dedicated to ending slavery. The rest of his life he spent fighting for the freedom of all slaves and rights for African-American slaves.

What I Learned From Frederick Douglass

I learned from Frederick Douglass that you should be a role model for being strong under

terrible life circumstances. He never lost his hope that he could make his life better, and that his fellow Americans were capable of being better people.

Frederick and the Jewish Value, “Don’t ignore anyone”

Frederick lived by my value “don’t ignore anyone” because the moment he became free,

he dedicated his life to finding a way to free every other slave. So by becoming an abolitionist, he brought the issue of slaves and inequality to people’s attention.

Colin Marx - Frederick Douglass - Google Slides