Courtesy of University of Rochester Library, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.
Widely recognized as the premier African American leader of the nineteenth century, Frederick Douglass was a tireless abolitionist, reformer, author, and orator who devoted his life to combating the evils of slavery and championing the cause of his people. Born a slave on Maryland's Eastern Shore in 1818, Douglass was an implacable enemy of oppression throughout his life, fighting against slavery until Emancipation and in favor of women's rights and black suffrage in the decades that followed. A prolific author and a gifted speaker, Douglass's powerful voice and dramatic speaking style made him a celebrity both in the United States and in Europe. This engraved portrait was the frontispiece for Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, his first autobiography, published in 1845.