Frederick Douglass was an abolitionist, social reformer, and writer. He was born into slavery but escaped as a young man before becoming one of the most prominent figures in American history.
Douglass was born on February 1818 to Harriet Bailey, who was a slave, and her white master Edward Covey. He was given the name Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey. As a child, he was taught how to read by his mother and other slaves on their plantation. His father died when he was seven years old.
In 1826, his mother sent him to live with her brother in Baltimore because she worried that Covey would harm him if they stayed together any longer. While living with his aunt and uncle, Frederick met many free African Americans who helped him develop his abolitionist beliefs. He also learned more about himself through reading books such as The Columbian Orator by George Washington Williams and Narrative of Robert Adams.