Excerpt from Chapter – Frederick Douglass (Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey)

Published August 22, 2017

Considered one of the most important figures of the nineteenth century, Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born into slavery in 1818 in Talbot County, Maryland. His mother was a slave, and it is suspected that his father was the slave owner, Captain Aaron Anthony. There were restrictions for slaves who had children at the time, and therefore, Douglass’ mother could not visit him often. As a result, his maternal grandmother raised him during most of his early childhood. When Douglass was approximately seven years old, his grandmother left him at the Wye House Plantation, which was under the ownership of the wealthy master, Colonel Lloyd. Douglass later reflected on his sense of feeling betrayed by his grandmother. Unfortunately, she did not have a choice. His responsibilities included lighter work, as he was too young to work in the field. Douglass lived mostly in the plantation home and was able to observe firsthand, the abuse and forced labor that salves endured, particularly under the supervision of Aaron Anthony. Douglass did not have very much contact with his mother, who passed away when he was only ten years old.22