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Frederick Douglass

(1818–1895) Frederick was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his oratory and anti-slavery writings. Frederick was a firm believer in the equality of all peoples, be they white, black, female, Native American, or immigrants. He was also a believer in dialogue and in making alliances across racial and ideological divides.

In 1848, Frederick was the only African American to attend the Seneca Falls Convention. Elizabeth Cady Stanton asked the assembly to pass a resolution asking for women's suffrage. Many of those present opposed the idea. Frederick stood and spoke eloquently in favor of women's suffrage; he said that he could not accept the right to vote as a black man if women could not also claim that right. He suggested that the world would be a better place if women were involved in the political sphere.

After Frederick's powerful words, the attendees passed the resolution. When the 15th Amendment giving Blacks the right to vote was being debated, Frederick split with the women's rights movement. He supported the amendment, which would grant suffrage to black men. Many suffragists opposed the amendment because it limited expansion of suffrage to black men; they predicted its passage would delay for decades the cause for women's right to vote. On February 20, 1895, after returning to his house from a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, DC, Douglass died of a heart attack at age 77.


Mount Hope Cemetery

Section T, Lot 26

1133 Mount Hope Ave. Rochester, NY 14620

Monroe County

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