3 Sep: Becoming Frederick Douglass

Posing as a sailor, with a borrowed ‘Protection Pass’ in his pocket, Frederick Douglass boarded a train from Baltimore to Philadelphia on 3rd September, 1838 – and escaped the slavery into which he had been born. 

To formalise the process, he had to dodge slave-catchers, change his name and pay for his freedom. He then became an abolitionist, orator and public intellectual – and one of the most photographed men of the 19th century.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider how Douglass’s story continues to challenge many of our preconceptions about slavery; explain how he used writing and public appearances to combat racism; and reveal how Douglass’ story has a surprising connection to, of all places, Northamptonshire…

Further Reading:

• ‘Frederick Douglass’ Incredible Legacy, Told by Laurence Fishburne’ (History at Home, 2020):

• ‘Frederick Douglass – Quotes, Narrative & Book’ (Biography, 2021): https://www.biography.com/activist/frederick-douglass

• ‘Douglass in England – Frederick Douglass in Britain and Ireland’: http://frederickdouglassinbritain.com/journey/FDEngland/