National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Frederick Douglass: American\African American
Born near Easton, Maryland
Frederick Douglass was one of the most influential African Americans in the nineteenth century. In the 1840s and 1850s this ex-slave who escaped bondage best articulated the evils of slavery and the need to fulfill the American promise of equality. His skill as an orator and impressive bearing made him one of the most popular abolitionist spokespersons. Douglass' growing frustration-following passage of the Fugitive Slave Act-led him to advocate resistance to the law and even, with his support of John Brown, violence, forcing him to briefly flee the country. Douglass returned to America with the coming of the Civil War, his hopes revived.