Skip to Page Content

The Frederick Douglass Organization

Frederick Douglass Biography

1841 - 1847

  • 1841, June 30 Chairman of meeting of New Bedford blacks that condemns Maryland colonization society.
  • 1841, August 9 Garrison hears Douglass speak at New Bedford antislavery meeting; is impressed by his ability.
  • 1841, August 12-13 Speaks three times before large, chiefly white audiences at Nantucket convention; rouses great enthusiasm; is hired as lecturer by Massachusetts Anti- Slavery Society for three-month trail period.
  • 1841, September 28 Is forcibly ejected from Eastern Railroad train for refusal to ride in “Jim Crow” car; early progenitor of non-violent protest movement.
  • 1841, Autumn Moves family from New Bedford to Lynn, Massachusetts.
  • 1841, October In first speech reported in detail; at Lynn, launches twin attack on slavery in South, racial prejudice in North.
  • 1842, January Is hired permanently as anti-slavery lecturer after 3,500 mile tour draws big crowds, high praise for his oratorical talent.
  • 1842, March 3 Son Frederick, Jr. is born.
  • 1842, November 8 Writes first public letter describing his work in defense of George Latimer, a fugitive slave.
  • 1842- Travels extensively in New England and New York State; is
  • 1843 victim of many instances of northern racial bias.
  • 1843, September 16 Attacked by pro-slavery mob at Pendleton, Indiana; continues lecture tour despite broken right hand.
  • 1844, October 21 Son Charles Remond is born.
  • 1845, May 28 Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, published, revealing his identity and presenting a stark picture of his early life in Talbot County slavery.
  • 1845, August 6 Leaves the United States for England, partly to avoid being captured and sent back to slavery and partly to spread the anti-slavery cause in the British Isles.
  • 1845, August Sails for Great Britain aboard Cunard steamer Cambria; forced to travel in steerage.
  • 1845, August 27 Pro-slavery Cambria passengers threaten to throw him overboard when he attempts to deliver abolitionist speech.
  • 1845, August 28 Arrives at Liverpool on “visit to the home of my paternal ancestors”
  • 1845, August 31 Travels to Dublin, Ireland, for three-month speaking tour at Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Belfast before large and enthusiastic anti-slavery and temperance audiences.
  • 1845, late September First Dublin edition of Narrative published; sells rapidly, helps finance British travels.
  • 1845, October 25 Thomas Auld sells rights to Frederick to brother Hugh for $100; later, abolitionist press claims Hugh has vowed to get vengeance by selling Frederick south “cost what it may.”
  • 1846, January-May Tours Scotland', campaigning unsuccessfully against acceptance of funds from American South by Free Church of Scotland.
  • 1846, May-December Takes anti-slavery crusade to England; lionized by British crowds.
  • 1846, October 6 Hugh Auld agrees to sell Frederick's manumission for 150 pounds sterling ($711.66 in American currency) raised by British admirers.
  • 1846 December 12 Becomes free man when manumission papers are filed in Baltimore County court.
  • 1847 April 20 Arrives back in Boston after highly acclaimed British tour of eighteen months.
  • 1847, late September Announces plans to start newspaper, The North Star, despite bitter opposition from Garrison and Phillips with funds provided by British friends.
  • 1847, December 3 First issue of The North Star is published in Rochester, New York where he makes his home for the next twenty years.
  • 1847, December Meets John Brown in Springfield, Massachusetts. In later discussions with him, is greatly influenced by Brown's personality and insistence that slavery cannot be ended without violence.

1848 - 1851