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News-Antique.com - Jul 02,2007 - July 2, 2007—Frederick Douglass was hired to tell the story of his own bondage. As he stepped up to the platform and began to speak his voice trembled.
In a few moments the trembling stopped and Douglass spoke from the heart about the life of a Black field hand in America prior to the Civil War.
He spoke about back-breaking long hours in the fields, meals eaten out of a trough, whippings and humiliation.
“Fugitive slaves were rare then, and as a fugitive slave lecturer, I had the advantage of being the first one out,” he said.
Douglass didn’t realize it then, but he would spend the rest of his life speaking for the rights of Black people and the end of slavery in the United States.
He spoke so eloquently rumors spread that he had never actually been a slave. He confronted the gossip head on with a life-altering decision.
Knowing full well he might be kidnapped and forced back into slavery, Douglass published his first autobiography in 1845, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.” In the book he described his experiences and even named his master.
A two-page, signed letter Douglass also wrote to Anna Richardson talking about her ongoing efforts to purchase his freedom surfaced at auction recently. The letter sold on Feb. 27, 2007, in Swann Galleries, New York, Printed & Manuscript African-American auction.
“I shall sail to America on the fourth of November—and hope to meet the beloved one of my heart by the 20th of that month,” Douglass writes. “Do not allow this arrangement (to) interfere in any way with your correspondence with my owner—as whether you succeed or fail good may come of the effort.”
The historically important document brought $31,200.
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