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Frederick Douglass (Dictionary of American Biography)

Reference

Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biograohy (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1931), 3: 407.

Physically, Douglass was a commanding person, over six feet in height, with brown skin, frizzly hair, leonine head, strong constitution, and a fine voice. Persons who had heard him on the platform began to doubt his story. They questioned if this man who spoke good English and bore himself with independent self-assertion could ever have been a slave. Thereupon he wrote his Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass which Wendell Phillips advised him to burn. It was a daring recital of facts and Phillips feared that it might lead to his reenslavement. Douglass published the little book in 1845, however, and then, to avoid possible consequences, visited Great Britain and Ireland. Here he remained two years, meeting nearly all of the English Liberals. For the first time in his life he was treated as a man and an equal. The resultant effect upon his character was tremendous. He began to conceive emancipation not simply as physical freedom; but as social equality and economic and spiritual opportunity.
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