Frederick Douglass 1818-1895
Famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass began life as a slave but escaped north and used his skills as a writer and orator to become a central leader in the fight against slavery. Leading up to the Civil War, he lectured often and published two influential autobiographies. Douglass was instrumental in securing for Blacks the right to fight for the Union, and he recruited men for the African American 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. He criticized Lincoln’s delay in freeing the slaves but spoke his feelings about Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, We were waiting and listening as for a bolt from the sky . . . we were watching . . . by the dim light of the stars for the dawn of a new day . . . we were longing for the answer to the agonizing prayers of centuries.