Thursday, February 5, 2009

Frederick Douglas House at Cedar Hill

Frederick Douglas was arguably the most influential African American of the 19th century. A statesman, newspaper publisher, abolitionist, husband, father, orator and women's suffrage advocate, Douglas was a man of strong convictions. Born in slavery, Douglas escaped from his master after refusing to take a beating from an overseer on a Maryland plantation. He became a leading spokesman for the abolitionist movement. He turned down an invitation from John Brown to join the Harper's Ferry raid because he believed lawlessness did not help the anti-slavery cause. In 1865 he gave a speech at Hosanna Meeting House in Oxford, Pennsylvania that prompted my great-great grandfather, two of his brothers, and many of his friends to join the union army during the civil war. He was named ambassador to Haiti in 1889. Douglas and his wife Anna purchased this home in 1877, breaking a whites' only covenant. On February 20, 1895, shortly after attending a women's rights rally, Douglas died in the hallway of this home. He may have been the greatest African American leader in American history.

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