Pathways to Freedom: Maryland and the Underground Railroad
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James Pennington
Harriet Tubman
Frederick Douglass
Caroline Hammond
Josiah Henson
Charles Ball
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Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was born around 1818 in Tuckahoe, Maryland. His mother was a slave. His father was the white master of the plantation. When he was about eight years old, Douglass was sent to a family in Baltimore. There he learned to read and write. Later, he was returned to the plantation. He escaped to freedom in 1838. After his escape, Douglass became an important abolitionist. He was a very good speaker. He gave many speeches against slavery. In 1845 he wrote his autobiography. It is a very important book about life in slavery. Douglass also published an anti-slavery newspaper called the North Star.

  Read and listen to the entire passage from Frederick Douglass' biography. Go to the interactive »
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Note: The audio you will hear is a dramatic reading of the text.



Look at a short section of the narrative:

  • Douglass' analogy between sail boats and freedom.

  • How Douglass and his friends felt as they planned their escape.

  • What Douglass and his friends knew of their probable path to freedom.

  • The horrors Douglass imagined might happen in their flight to freedom.

    Find out more about Frederick Douglass

    Read another primary source document.






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