Archives and Special Collections
P.O. Box 1773
Carlisle, PA 17013
Frederick Douglass was born in February 1818, as a slave in Talbot County, Maryland. At the age of twelve, his master’s wife began to teach him the alphabet, but was ordered to stop by her husband. Despite this interference, Douglass learned to read from white children and to write from watching writings of the men he worked with. Once literate, Douglass read newspapers, books and any material he could find. Also, he taught many other slaves to read the New Testament at Sabbath school.
On September 3, 1838, Douglass escaped from the plantation by train, traveled to New York and eventually to Massachusetts. A year before Douglass obtained freedom he met Anna Murray, a free African American, who he married after his escape. Douglass is remembered for his work as an abolitionist, author and politician. He published several newspapers that focused on key social issues like the education of African Americans. In 1872, Douglass was nominated as Victoria Woodhull’s running mate on the Equal Rights Party ticket. This made him the first African American to be nominated for the office of Vice President of the United States. Frederick Douglass died on February 20, 1895.