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Frederick Douglass, a former slave and eminent human rights leader in the abolition movement, was the first black citizen to hold a high U.S. government rank.
Frederick Douglass escaped slavery in 1838 and used his talents as a writer and orator to fight for emancipation. Douglass edited an abolitionist newspaper, recruited black regiments during the Civil War, and advised President Lincoln.
In 1863, Frederick Douglass enlists as a recruiting officer for an African American regiment in the Civil War. From "Biography: Frederick Douglass."
In the 1850s, Frederick Douglass allied with a passionate white Abolitionist named John Brown, who became a powerful symbol to Douglass for the violent overthrow of the slave system.
After testifying firsthand to the brutality of slavery at an American Anti-Slavery Society meeting in Nantucket, Frederick Douglass became an overnight success in the Abolitionist arena of public speaking.
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Their marriage caused considerable controversy, since Pitts was both white and nearly 20 years younger than Douglass. Douglass’ children were especially displeased with the relationship.
Frederick Douglass and Helen Pitts remained married until Douglass’ death, 11 years later. On February 20, 1895, Douglass attended a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, D.C. Shortly after returning home,
Frederick Douglass died of a massive heart attack or stroke. He was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York.
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