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Douglass, Frederick (1818–1895)

STATESMAN, WRITER, humanitarian, and diplomat, former slave Frederick Douglass was known and respected throughout the world. He never knew his white father and only saw his mother rarely. Douglass was brought up by his grandmother on a Maryland plantation. The Christian faith that Douglass learned as a child remained with him throughout his life, and he often peppered his speeches with quotes from Scriptures. He was particularly drawn to the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

At the age of eight, Douglass was bought by a liberal Baltimore family, Hugh and Sophia Auld. His mistress began teaching Douglass to read, but she backed away when her husband reminded her that it was against state law to do so. Douglass ...

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