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Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass [seated portrait]. Albumen print mounted on card (carte de visite). New-York Historical Society Library, PR.011.2

Abolitionist Frederick Douglass, born a slave in 1818 on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, became a free man in New York in 1838 after boarding a train for the north with the borrowed identity papers of a free black man. In his autobiography, Douglass vividly described his first experience of freedom: “After an anxious and most perilous but safe journey, I found myself in the big city of New York, a free man—one more added to the mighty throng which, like the confused waves of the troubled sea, surged to and fro between the lofty walls of Broadway.” Douglass also conveyed his sentiments about arriving in the city as a free man in a letter he wrote to a friend shortly after reaching New York: "I felt as one might feel upon escape from a den of hungry lions. Anguish and grief, like darkness and rain, may be depicted; but gladness and joy, like the rainbow, defy the skill of pen or pencil.”


Statues of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass

Audio/Video Programs

Audio Program: Lincoln, Douglass, and the Civil War 
Video Program: Frederick Douglass and the Underground Railroad  

Blog Posts

Behind the Scenes: Interview about Lincoln and Douglass bronze statues 


Frederick Douglass Council 


Museum Collections 


Creative: Tronvig Group