Frederick Douglass

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.

When he was only a few weeks old, he was taken from his mother. He was sent to live with his grandmother. He only saw his mother four or five times before she died.

When he was about ten years old, he was sent to Baltimore. At first, the wife of his new master started to teach him how to read. Soon, Douglass's owner told her to stop. But Douglass had learned just enough to make him want to learn more. He secretly taught himself to read and write. He learned by watching white boys and studying the writings of the men he worked for.

Douglass spent a few years in Baltimore. When he was fifteen, he was sent to live in the country with a man known as a "slave-breaker." 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.

When he was nineteen, Douglass met and fell in love with a free black woman who lived in Baltimore. Her name was Anna Murray, and she helped Frederick escape. He traveled by steamboat and train and made it to New York. Anna followed him there, and they were married in 1838. The couple went to live in Massachusetts.

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