Frederick Douglass

We hold all women to be justly entitled to all we claim for man.”
Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was born a slave, named Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey. He escaped slavery in 1838 and took on his new name. He had been able to teach himself to read and write, and he was known as both a brilliant writer and speaker. Douglass joined the abolitionist movement in 1841 and spoke often on behalf of the American Anti-Slavery Society. By 1847, he had moved to Rochester, New York where he published the North Star, a weekly abolitionist newspaper. Douglass was invited to attend the First Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, and was one of only thirty-two men who signed the Declaration of Sentiments.

Shortly thereafter, he wrote in the North Star, “In respect to political rights, we hold woman to be justly entitled to all we claim for man. We go farther, and express our conviction that all political rights which it is expedient for man to exercise, it is equally so for women…Our doctrine is, that “Right is of no sex.”

In 1866, he joined Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in founding the American Equal Rights Association. These relationships, however, soon were challenged by the 15th Amendment, ratified on February 3, 1870, which excluded all women from voting.