"Frederick Douglass (1818−1895)
Born Tuckahoe, Maryland
Frederick Douglass was one of the most influential African Americans in the nineteenth century. In the 1840s and 1850s this ex-slave who escaped bondage best articulated the evils of slavery and the need to fulfill the American promise of equality. His skill as an orator and impressive bearing made him one of the most popular abolitionist spokespersons. Douglass’ growing frustration—following passage of the Fugitive Slave Act—led him to advocate resistance to the law and even, with his support of John Brown, violence, forcing him to briefly flee the country. Douglass returned to America with the coming of the Civil War, his hopes revived."
- The Struggle for Justice, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Frederick Douglass was a passionate supporter of women's rights. He attended the Seneca Falls Convention and argued that women should have the right to vote. In the North Star newspaper, he wrote about his opinion on the matter:
"We are free to say that in respect to political rights we hold woman to be justly titled to all we hold for man. We go further and express our conviction that all political rights which it is expended for man to exercise, it is equally so for women. All that distinguishes man as an intelligent and accountable being is equally true of woman;...there can be no reason in the world for denying to woman the exercise of the elective franchise."
- Frederick Douglass, The North Star July 28, 1848, The Library of Congress.