FREDRICK DOUGLASS 200th birthday. Born February 1818 Virginia, USA
Fredrick Douglass was the most prominent African-American of the 19th century. He was born on a brutal slave-plantation in Virginia in 1818. Slaves were prohibited from education but he self-taught himself to read and write before escaping. He became a writer and a leader of the anti-abolitionist movement. He was famed for being a brilliant orator talking to packed audiences in Britain and Ireland about his lived experiences of the ravages of slavery.
Douglass was an ardent supporter of the feminist movement that would lead to the women’s vote and universal suffrage for women. He was the first Black man to visit the White House itself built by slaves where he counselled Abraham Lincoln on race and politics.
He also visited Bristol during the 1840s where his speeches enthralled Victorian audiences. Douglass’ freedom had been purchased by abolitionists. Britain had ended the Transatlantic slave trade in 1807 however slavery still flourished in the Caribbean (1833) and USA (1865). His famous phrases were “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.’ and “Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!”