February 14: Frederick Douglass

Although Douglass’ actual birthdate is unknown, he chose February 14 as the day to celebrate his birth, recalling that his mother called him her “Little Valentine.” Explore our teaching collection related to this important African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman.

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My Bondage and My Freedom

My Bondage and My Freedom is an autobiographical slave narrative written by Frederick Douglass and published in 1855. It is the second of three autobiographies written by Douglass, and is mainly an expansion of his first (Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass), discussing in greater detail his transition from bondage to liberty. Douglass, a former slave, following his liberation went on to become a prominent abolitionist, speaker, author, and publisher. Lit2Go

Frederick Douglass' Speech to the People of Rochester

Excerpt from Frederick Douglass’ 1852 speech outlining the hypocritical nature of slavery in the United States of America. From the Lit2Go website. Duration: 13 minutes. Also available as PDF.

Oration in Memory of Lincoln

Frederick Douglass speaks at the unveiling of the Lincoln Monument in Washington, D.C., April 14, 1876. on the Lit2Go website. Duration: 26 minutes 23 seconds.

"Douglass" by Paul Paurence Dunbar

Ah, Douglass, we have fall’n on evil days,
Such days as thou, not even thou didst know,
When thee, the eyes of that harsh long ago
Saw, salient, at the cross of devious ways,
And all the country heard thee with amaze.
Not ended then, the passionate ebb and flow,
The awful tide that battled to and fro;
We ride amid a tempest of dispraise.

Now, when the waves of swift dissension swarm,
And Honor, the strong pilot, lieth stark,
Oh, for thy voice high–sounding o’er the storm,
For thy strong arm to guide the shivering bark,
The blast–defying power of thy form,
To give us comfort through the lonely dark.

Available on Lit2Go as an audio recording and as a PDF.

Frederick Douglass

Douglass (c. 1818-1895) was an abolitionist, editor, and speaker. He is also known as “The Sage of Anacostia” and “The Lion of Anacostia.” Illustration from the ClipArt ETC website.

Frederick Douglas Bust

Frederick Douglas Bust from the ClipPix ETC website. The sculpture is located in Faneuil Hall, Boston, Massachusetts.