Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the most famous 19th century African American. His life was a testament to the courage and persistence that serves as an inspiration to those who struggle in the cause of liberty and justice.
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1818. During the course of his remarkable life he escaped from slavery and worked for the freedom of all Americans. As a major Stationmaster on the Underground Railroad he directly helped hundreds on their way to freedom through his adopted home city of Rochester, NY.
Renowned for his eloquence, he lectured throughout the US and England on the brutality and immorality of slavery. As a publisher his North Star and Frederick Douglass' Paper brought news of the anti-slavery movement to thousands. Forced to leave the country to avoid arrest after John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, he returned to become a staunch advocate of the Union cause. He helped recruit African American troops for the Union Army, and his personal relationship with Lincoln helped persuade the President to make emancipation a cause of the Civil War.
In 1872, Douglass moved to Washington, DC where he initially served as publisher of the New National Era, which was intended to carry forward the work of elevating the position of African Americans in the post-Emancipation period. In this period Douglass also served briefly as President of the Freedmen's National Bank, and subsequently in various national service positions, including US Marshal for the District of Columbia, and diplomatic positions in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
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