Home » Timeline of the Life of Frederick Douglass » Timeline of the Life of Frederick Douglass 1861-1895

Timeline of the Life of Frederick Douglass 1861-1895

Back to Timeline 1818-1840

Back to Timeline 1841-1860



Beginning of the Civil War. Douglass began advocating for African Americans to be included in the Union Army.


Congress abolished slavery.
His employment with the American Antislavery Society came to an end. Douglass began to receive invitations from colleges and institutions to give speeches. His best known speech became the Self-Made Men.


The Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1st, declaring all slaves in the ten states of the Union free. The states not under Union control were exempted.
Douglass assisted in recruiting African American soldiers for the 54th and the 55th regiments. His sons, Charles and Lewis, were the first two colored recruits to join the 54th Massachusetts Infantry.


Met with President Lincoln to advocate for equal treatment, pay and protection of colored soldiers.


Lincoln was assassinated.
The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution was adopted. It outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude.


Attended the Republican Convention as a Rochester representative.
The Civil Rights Act of 1866 gave the right of citizenship to any person born in the United States regardless of color.


Founded and edited the New National Era, a journal in Washington DC. Douglass lost ten thousand dollars of his investment and ended its publication in 1874.
President Grand signed the Fifteenth Amendment giving black males the right to vote.


Congress passed the Civil Rights act of 1871 prohibiting ethnic violence against colored people.
President Grant appointed Douglas as part of a commission to study the viability of annexing Santo Domingo.
Appointed as member of the Council for the Government of the District of Columbia. African Americans made one third of the population of the district and having Douglass gave them proportionate representation.
Invited to give a speech during the unveiling of the Lincoln monument at Lincoln Park in the nation’s capital.


The Equal Rights Party headed by Victoria Woodhull nominated Douglass for Vice-President, he declined.
Frederick Douglass’ house in Rochester was burnt to the ground. Twelve volumes of his newspaper from 1848-1860 were lost. They were going to be sent to Harvard University Library.
After the fire he moved his family to Washington DC.
Became president for six months of the troubled Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company, known as Freeman’s Bank. He lost $12,000 of his own investment.


Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1875 prohibiting discrimination in public places. The act was found unconstitutional in 1883 as individual behavior could not be regulated by Congress.


Rutherford Hayes was elected the 19th president of the U.S. He appointed Douglass as U.S Marshall of the District of Columbia.


Purchased Cedar Hill in Anascotia, Washington, D.C. from the Freedmen’s Savings and Trust Company. He paid $6,500 for the home and 9 and ¾ acres of land. He purchased an additional 5 ¾ acres from Ella Talburtt.
During the Fall he and his family moved into Cedar Hill. Today it is the Frederick Douglass National Historical Site administered by the National Park Service.


President Garfield was elected the 20th President of the United States. Appointed Douglass Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia.
Published his third and last autobiography The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.


On August 4, Anna Murray Douglass died after battling illness for years. Frederick and Anna were married for forty four years.


Douglass married Helen Pitts, a white woman and 20 years younger who was his secretary when he was Recorder of Deeds. Their families did not support their marriage.
His long time lover, Ottilie Assing, committed suicide.


Frederick and Helen toured Europe and Africa.


Benjamin Harrison was elected the 23rd President of the U.S. and appointed Frederick as Consul General to Haiti.


Appointed Minister Resident to the Republic of Haiti.


Resigns from his post in Haiti.


The Haitian government selected Douglass as commissioner to the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World.


Douglass constructed affordable rental housing for colored people known as Douglass Place in Fells Point, Baltimore.


Attended meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington D.C. After Douglass returned home he died of a heart attack.
Frederick Douglass’ funeral was held at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Douglass was buried in the Douglass family plot in Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York.


Back to Timeline 1818-1840

Back to Timeline 1841-1860