Timeline of the Life of Frederick Douglass 1841-1860


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William Coffin, a prominent abolitionist, invited Douglass to speak at a convention in Nantucket.
Became an agent of the Massachusetts Antislavery Society. First duty assigned was to travel with George Foster to secure subscribers to the Antislavery Standard and Liberator. He gave lectures in the eastern counties of Massachusetts.
Was called to advocate equal rights for the proposed new constitution of Rhode Island.


Son Frederick (1842–1892) was born.


As an agent of the Antislavery Society, Douglass toured New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania.
Began to consider slavery as a matter of law instead of public opinion.
He was so articulate that people had begun to doubt he had been an actual slave.
Starts writing his first autobiography the Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass.


Son Charles Remond (1844 – 1920) was born.


Published his first autobiography : The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Aboard the Cambria he left the country and sought refuge in England to avoid being recaptured as a fugitive slave. He toured England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Ellen Richardson and Henry Richardson raised funds to buy Douglass’ freedom from Captain Auld. They paid Auld 150 sterling pounds, about $710 for his manumission which gave him immunity against the fugitive slave law of 1793 and 1850.


Began to disagree with Garrison.
Douglass and his family moved to Rochester, New York.
Raised $2500 to publish a weekly newspaper “The North Star” in Rochester.
Found himself heavily indebted, mortgaged his house to raise money to meet the newspaper’s expenses.
Frederick met John Brown in Springfield, MA.


Brought Julia Griffiths Crofts from England to assist in tutoring his children and wife Anna. Despite her efforts, Anna never learned to read and write.
The first women’s rights convention took place at Seneca Falls, NY. Douglass advocated for women’s right to vote.
Began sheltering fugitive slaves in his house and became part of the branch of the Underground Railway that dispatched passenger from Rochester to Canada. At one time he had eleven slaves under his roof.


The Compromise of 1850 was approved. One of the provisions was the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.


Daughter Annie (1849-1860) was born.
While in NY Douglass was attacked by a mob breaking a bone in his hand.


Julia Griffiths Crofts worked close with Douglass as a business associate and assisted him in increasing the circulation of the “North Star” from 2,000 to 4,000 copies and getting out of debt. The name of the publication was changed to Frederick Douglass’ Paper to differentiate itself from the other “star” publications.


Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Tom’s Cabin, it helps popularize the antislavery movement. The novel became the bestselling novel of the 19th century.
The relationship between Douglass and Garrison become sour as different political opinions direct them to separate paths in the antislavery campaign.


The largest colored convention known as the National Negro Convention met in Rochester, NY. Douglass was one of the speakers.


The Missouri Compromise was repealed by the Kansas Nebraska Act; it was the only grand barrier against the spread of slavery.


Douglass published his second autobiography“My Bondage and My Freedom”. Political opponents were using Douglass’ affair with Julia Griffith against him. The scandal was too much pressure and Julia moved back to England.
Douglass met Ottilie Assing, a journalist for a German Newspaper. She moved with the Douglass family to work with Frederick and tutor his children. An affair developed between Douglass and Assign.


Freemont and Dayton elected President and Vice President.


John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry. Brown was executed.
Douglass fled to England to avoid arrest for his connection with Brown.


Younger daughter Annie died at age 10.
Douglass returned from exile.
Lincoln was elected the sixteenth president of the United States. The Republican Party was the only party in the union that opposed slavery.
South Carolina seceded from the Union.


Next Timeline 1861-1885


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