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Fredrick Douglass (Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey) rightly called as the father of the civil rights movement, was the well-known African American communal activist, raconteur, author, statesman, journalist, publisher, and critic. His father was a white man and his mother, Harriet Bailey, a slave retained by Aaron Anthony. Fredrick got separated from his mother at a very early age and he lived with his maternal grandmother. He underwent all the paucities of the fellow slaves. At the age of eight, he was moved to Baltimore to live with a ship carpenter, Hugh Auld. There he studied to read and became familiar with the words abolition and abolitionists. His early life moulded and groomed him into a strong man. With immense courage and resilience, Douglass rose to the level of becoming the leader of the abolitionist movement who later received myriad appreciations for his oratorical skill and writing dexterity. He was the first African American to be nominated for the vice-president by the Equal Rights Party in 1872.
Douglass became the representative voice of the nineteenth century. His best-selling autobiographies Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845) and My Bondage and My Freedom (1855) examined and portrayed his life events as a slave and severely criticized the act of slavery and deeply supported the cause of abolition. He initiated and revised the abolitionist newspaper The North Star from 1847 to 1851. He was an active supporter of women’s suffrage movement and strongly voiced the need for the equality of people irrespective of class, colour, creed and race. He worked with various abolitionists and tried to choose and accept the best opinions and never hesitated to refute the vilest ones.
Douglass considered it important to impart knowledge and education to people as he realised the fact that knowledge has immense power to eradicate slavery from the world. His wide reading and prompt updating of knowledge led him write the famous autobiographies that has the essence to lift and influence the masses. Though a strong believer in Christianity, he criticized the pretences of religion and exposed the lack of virtue amongst the clergymen and priests. His excellent capability to verbalize the predicament of the slaves through his writings earned him transnational reputation. He received a standing ovation at a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, D.C. on February 20, 1895. He died of a massive heart attack the same day.
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