Poems

Frederick Douglass and Robert Hayden

On February 21, 1895, the North Carolina legislature adjourned to honor the passing of Frederick Douglass.

Frederick Douglass died on February 20, 1895 of a massive cardiac event shortly after returning from a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, DC. Douglass was later buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, NY. Douglass was born into slavery in Maryland, and later, escaped north in 1838. He became a vocal supporter of the abolitionist movement, especially as a public speaker and as the publisher of abolitionist newspapers, among them the famous North Star. He was also appointed to many governmental positions, including by President Abraham Lincoln.

In 1845, Douglass published the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, an influential text at the time that is still considered among the most powerful personal accounts of life as an enslaved person.

Douglass also actively supported women’s suffrage and believed firmly in the equality of all peoples.

His influence carries down through the ages in both history and literature. Here is a recording of poet Robert Hayden reading his poem, “Frederick Douglass.” 

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