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||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||high interest, readability grades 3 to 5
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||estate, widower, slavery, seller, illegal, speaker, introduction, master, born, working, settle, attack, weekly, escape, rebuild, leaving
||Frederick Douglass, But Douglass, New York, William Lloyd Garrison, Anti-Slavery Society, Thirteenth Amendment, African Americans, Helen Pitts, When Douglass, United States
By Cathy Pearl
1 Frederick Douglass was born in Maryland in February of 1818. He never knew who his father was. He did know that his father was white. His mother was a slave, which meant that Douglass was a slave when he was born.
2 When he was only a few weeks old, he went to live with his grandparents. He only saw his mother four or five times before she died. Douglass was only seven at the time.
3 When he was eight, he was sent to Baltimore. At first, the wife of his new master started to teach him how to read. Soon, Douglass' owner told her to stop. But Douglass had learned just enough to make him want to learn more. He would use the food he was given to pay neighborhood boys to teach him to read and write.
4 Douglass spent seven years in Baltimore. He was then sent back to live in the country. This was a very hard time in his life. He was treated very badly. He was whipped almost every day. He was given very little to eat.
5 In 1836, Douglass decided it was time to escape. But he was put in jail when others learned of his plans. Two years later, Douglass was again working in Baltimore. Douglass was finally able to escape. He traveled by steamboat and train and made it to New York. While there, he married. The couple went to Massachusetts.
6 Douglass continued to read and try to learn more. He joined many different groups. He joined a church. He also went to abolitionist meetings. In 1841, he heard William Lloyd Garrison speak. Douglass was very inspired.
7 Douglass also began to give speeches. Before leaving one meeting, Douglass was asked to lecture for the Anti-Slavery Society for the next three years. Douglass would keep speaking to people about slavery for the rest of his life.
8 Douglass's early speeches talked about his life as a slave. He talked about the beatings he saw other slaves get. He also talked about how slaves worked very hard and didn't get enough to eat.
9 In 1845, Douglass published his autobiography. He was worried that this might put him in danger, but he did it anyway. Three years later, Douglass started to publish a weekly newspaper.
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