Frederick Douglass was born a slave in Maryland in 1818. He successfully escaped in 1838, journeying to New York and later to Massachusetts. Douglass gave his first public speech in 1841 and soon became an anti-slavery lecturer. He published his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, in 1845 and in the years before the Civil War published an abolitionist newspaper. During the war, Frederick Douglass recruited soldiers for the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, one of the first black units in the country acclaimed for its service in the assault on Fort Wagner in South Carolina in 1863. Douglass held a number of political positions after the war and died in 1895.
McKivigan, John R. ed. Frederick Douglass. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004.
Douglass, Frederick. Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, written by himself. Hartford, CT: Park Publishing Co., 1882.