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Frederick Douglass – one of the most influential men of the anti-slavery movement

Frederick Douglass was one of the most influential men of the anti-slavery movement. He stood up for what he believed in, fought hard to get where he got and never let someone tell him he could not do something. Frederick Douglass made a change in this country that will always be remembered. Born Frederick Baily, Frederick Douglass was a slave, his birthday is not pin pointed but known to be in February of 1818. He was born on Holmes Hill Farm, near the town of Easton, Maryland. Harriet Baily was Frederick’s mother.

She worked the cornfields surrounding Holmes Hill. As a boy, he knew little of his father except that the man was white. As a child, he had heard rumors that the master, Aaron Anthony was his father. Frederick’s mother was required to work long hours in the fields, so he lived with his grandmother, Betsey Baily. Betsy Baily lived in a cabin a short distance from Holmes Hill Farm. Her job was to look after Harriet’s children until they were old enough to work. “Frederick’s mother visited him when she could, but he had only a hazy memory of her.

He did not think he was a slave during the years with his grandmother. When Frederick was six he was put to work on the Lloyd Plantation. This was the last he saw of his grandmother as he realized that he was now a slave. He learned that the master, Aaron Anthony, would beat his slaves if they did not obey order. Luckily for Frederick he was picked to be Daniel Lloyd’s friend, the youngest son of the plantation’s owner. Frederick also found a friend in Lucretia Auld, the master’s daughter.

One day in 1826 Lucretia told Frederick that he was being sent to live with her brother-in-law, Hugh Auld, who managed a ship building company in Baltimore. When Frederick got to the Auld home his only duties were to run errands and care for the Auld’s infant son, Tommy. Frederick liked the work and grew to love the child. Sophia Auld was the master’s wife, she often read the bible to her son and Frederick. She started to teach Frederick to read and write but soon after the master learned of this and forbid it. Frederick only learned the abhalbit and some words.

So he learned the rest by himself. Soon Frederick bought a local paper and learned about abolitionist. This changed his views on many things but was soon sent back to work on a plantation, this time to Thomas Auld’s new farm near the town of Saint Michaels. Frederick was sad to leave Baltimore because he had recently become a teacher to a group of other young blacks. Frederick was put to work as a field hand and was extremely unhappy. Frederick then organized a Sunday religious service for the slaves which met near town.

As quick as they started they were stopped, a mob led by Thomas Auld broke up the meetings and would not soon forget about them. In January 1834, Frederick was sent to work for Edward Covey, a poor farmer who had gained a reputation around town for being and expert “slave breaker” , Frederick was sent to work with him for the punishment of setting up the religious meetings. Covey hid in bushes and spied on the slaves as they worked, if he caught one of them resting he would beat him with thick branches. After being on the farm for one week, Frederick was beaten for letting an oxen team run wild.

The months that followed weren’t much better, he was continually whipped until he began to feel that he was “broken” . So after working for Covey for a year, Frederick was sent to work for a farmer named William Freeland, who was a relatively kind master. Frederick did not care about having a kind master because of the hell he went through and all he wanted was freedom. Soon Frederick planed an escape but a white man found out and Frederick was in jail for about a week. By surprise Thomas Auld came and released him. Then Frederick was sent back to Hugh Auld in Baltimore.

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