@ National Portrait Gallery
DescriptionBorn near Easton, MarylandFrederick Douglass’s skill as an orator, political savvy, and impressive bearing made him one of the most influential African Americans in the nineteenth century. During the 1840s and 1850s, the abolitionist rhetoric of this ex-slave who had escaped bondage best articulated the evils of slavery to white sympathizers and made the case for the need to fulfill the Constitution’s promise of equality. Douglass’s growing frustration following the Fugitive Slave Act, and his friendship with the radical John Brown, eventually led him to advocate resistance to the law and even violence, forcing him to flee the country briefly. Douglass returned to America with the coming of the Civil War, his hopes revived.
Albumen Silver Print
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution