Frederick Douglass was born on February 14, 1818 in Talbot County, Maryland. He was born into slavery and his mother was a slave named Harriet Bailey. His father was most likely his white master. As a young boy, Douglass was sent to work in the fields and was also subjected to regular beatings.
In 1838, Douglass escaped from slavery by boarding a train to Philadelphia. Once he arrived in Philadelphia, Douglass changed his last name from Bailey to Douglass. In 1841, Douglass attended an anti-slavery convention in Nantucket, Massachusetts where he met abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. Garrison convinced Douglass to become an abolitionist speaker and he began touring the country, giving speeches about his experiences as a slave.
In 1845, Frederick Douglass married Anna Murray who was also a former slave and had worked as a servant for the family of John Murray (a wealthy New York merchant) since she was 12 years old. The couple had five children together: Rosetta (baptized as Annie), Lewis Henry (who died at age two), Frederick Jr., Charles Remond (who died at age nine), and Annie Gertrude.