American Abolitionists

American Abolitionists

During the U.S. abolitionist movement of the 1800s, ordinary citizens, slaves and former slaves alike rose to the ranks of American heroes when they fought for the freedom of all people. Although President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation effectively ended slavery in 1863, the fight was wrought with violence, political upheaval and an ambitious spirit that refused to give up. Frederick Douglass captured this spirit in 1857 when speaking at an event for the 23rd anniversary of the West India Emancipation: "Without a struggle, there is no progress." They certainly struggled, and indeed succeeded.

Figures like Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth served not only as abolitionist leaders, but were champions of the early women's movement . Douglass continued working in the political realm as an outspoken activist and advocate up until his death in 1895. However long gone, the legacies of these freedom fighters remain anything but forgotten. Watch this playlist and travel back to the 19th century to learn more about the abolitionist movement.

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Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Like many slaves, Frederick Douglass never knew his own birthday or exact age. (0:48)

  • 2

    Frederick Douglass was born in eastern Maryland. (1:16)

  • 3

    At age 6, Frederick Douglass was assigned to be the companion and caretaker of the plantation owner's child. (2:18)

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