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PHOTO ESSAY

Frederick Douglass

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Douglass taken from his mother.

Courtesy of Snark/Art Resource, New York.

Douglass increasingly drew upon his experiences as a slave for his speeches. He decided to put his story into print in 1845, when he published Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself. The book was an instant success, selling over thirty thousand copies in its first five years and sparking a twenty-one month lecture tour of Great Britain. Douglass would go on to publish two more autobiographies over the course of his life. This image, part of a triptych from Douglass's third autobiography, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, shows Douglass being taken from his mother, a slave named Harriet Bailey, at age six. Regarding his mother, Douglass wrote that his few "meager glimpses" of her "are ineffaceably stamped upon my memory. She was tall and finely proportioned, of dark glossy complexion, with regular features, and amongst the slaves was remarkable sedate and dignified." Bailey died in 1825, when Douglass was eight years old.

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