Monday, 1 February 2016

Frederick Douglass, Google Doodle: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Frederick Douglass, Google Doodle: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Frederick Douglass is today’s Google Doodle. Who was this man and why are we celebrating his life? Douglass is a true symbol for human rights and was known for his impressive oratory as well as his antislavery writings. He was an abolitionist and statesman who overcame slavery and later became a leader of the abolitionist movement. Read on for our 5 Fast Facts on him below.

1. His Autobiography “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave” Was a Bestseller

Douglass published a couple autobiographies in his life. His 1845 autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,” became a bestselling book and “was influential in promoting the cause of abolition.” Other books he published include “My Bondage and My Freedom” and “Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.” His second autobiography was published just three years prior to his death and it covered events during the Civil War. After one of his autobiographies was published, Douglass engaged in a two-year speaking tour of Great Britain and Ireland in order to avoid recapture by one of his former owners, who Douglass had mentioned in his book.
Douglass was known for his quote “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong” as he was an advocate for equality among all people. He delivered hundreds and hundreds of speeches and editorials against slavery and racism throughout his life, becoming a powerful voice of the people. According to, he was the most important black American leader of the 19th century.

2. Douglass Was the First African American Nominated for Vice President of the United States

Truly impressive was that Douglass was the first African American nominated for Vice President of the United States. He was the running mate and Vice Presidential nominee of Victoria Woodhull. It was on the Equal Rights Party ticket and the nomination was made without his approval.
That same year, Douglass was presidential elector at large for the State of New York and he took the state’s vote to Washington D.C.
During the Civil War, Douglass was actually an adviser to President Abraham Lincoln.

3. He Escaped From Slavery

Douglass was born into slavery in Talbot County, Maryland to his mother Harriet Bailey. He was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey and later changed his last name to Douglass. Douglass’ exact birth date is unknown as he wrote in his first autobiography, “I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it.” He later decided to celebrate the day on February 14th.
As a child, Douglass was separated from his mother and ended up with his grandmother, but at the age of seven, they were separated as well. Douglass was moved to the Wye House plantation and ultimately escaped slavery at age 20. He eventually became a world-renowned anti-slavery activist.

4. Underground Railroad Member Anna Murray-Douglass Was His Longtime Wife

Frederick Douglass, Celebrate Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass Google Doodle Today, Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey
(Wikipedia – Photograph first published in Rosetta Douglass Sprague, “My Mother As I Recall Her”, 1900)
Anna Murray-Douglass was married to her husband until her death and the couple had five children together – Rosetta Douglass, Lewis Henry Douglass, Frederick Douglass, Jr., Charles Remond Douglass, and Annie Douglass, who died at ten years old. Murray was a member of the Underground Railroad and was a huge supporter of her husband. She passed away in 1882 and in 1884, Douglass remarried to white feminist Helen Pitts.
Murray was Douglass’ wife of 44 years and she was born free unlike some of her other siblings. She was working as a laundress and housekeeper when she met Douglass, who was working as a caulker. Murray actually had encouraged Douglass to escape slavery and she gave him some money to help him. The two later married in September 1838. Murray was active with the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society and supported her husband with his abolitionist newspaper, North Star. The North Star carried on for four years until it merged with Gerrit Smith’s Liberty Party Paper, ultimately becoming Frederick Douglass’ Paper. When asked why he created the North Star, Douglass was quoted saying, “I still see before me a life of toil and trials…, but, justice must be done, the truth must be told…I will not be silent.”
Frederick Douglass died of a massive heart attack or stroke on February 20, 1895.

5. Douglass Was an Early Supporter of the Womens’ Rights Movement

Frederick Douglass was a licensed preacher in addition to his many other accomplishments. The United States’ Episcopal Church remembers Douglass annually on its liturgical calendar, every February 20th. The Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity designated Douglass as an honorary member in 1921.
In addition to Douglass’ many honors, what was a very important fact about him was that he was an early supporter of the women’s rights movement. He was the only African American to attend the Seneca Falls Convention, which was the first women’s rights convention, in 1848.

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