​September 3, 1838: Frederick Douglass Successfully Escapes Slavery

1 Posted by - September 3, 2018 - BLACK ABOLITIONIST, BLACK LOVE, BLACK WOMEN, DID YOU KNOW, Injustices, LATEST POSTS, Looking Black On Today, POLITICS, Racism, SLAVERY

Douglass escaped slavery by boarding a train to Havre de Grace, Maryland. He was dressed in a sailor’s uniform, provided to him by Anna Murray, (he married her 12 days later, she was a free black woman in Baltimore) she also gave him part of her savings to cover his travel costs, and carried identification papers which he had obtained from a free black seaman. 

He crossed the Susquehanna River by ferry at Havre de Grace, then continued by train to Wilmington, Delaware. From there he went by steamboat to “Quaker City” (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and continued to the safe house of abolitionist David Ruggles in New York; the whole journey took less than 24 hours.

Frederick Douglass later wrote of his arrival in New York:

“I have often been asked, how I felt when first I found myself on free soil. And my readers may share the same curiosity. There is scarcely anything in my experience about which I could not give a more satisfactory answer. A new world had opened upon me. If life is more than breath, and the ‘quick round of blood,’ I lived more in one day than in a year of my slave life. It was a time of joyous excitement which words can but tamely describe. In a letter written to a friend soon after reaching New York, I said: ‘I felt as one might feel upon escape from a den of hungry lions.’ Anguish and grief, like darkness and rain, may be depicted; but gladness and joy, like the rainbow, defy the skill of pen or pencil.”

Frederick Douglass first tried to escape from Freeland, who had hired him out from his owner Colonel Lloyd, but was unsuccessful. In 1836, he tried to escape from his new owner Covey, but failed again. 

In 1837, Douglass met and fell in love with Anna Murray, her freedom strengthened his belief in the possibility of his own.

Once he had arrived, he sent for Murray to follow him to New York; she arrived with the necessary basics for them to set up home. They were married on September 15, 1838, by a black Presbyterian minister eleven days after his arrival in New York.


  • Bryan Lord September 3, 2017 - 6:25 am Reply

    Very, very inspiring!

  • johnnie Walker September 3, 2018 - 9:26 am Reply

    Interesting — Never taught that in school

  • Robert Illes September 3, 2018 - 10:30 am Reply

    There is a move afoot to eliminate the fact from schoolbooks that there ever was slavery here.

  • Robert Illes September 3, 2018 - 10:33 am Reply

    “I prayed for twenty years (to be freed) and received no answer until I prayed with my legs” – F.D.

  • Michael.W.Bell September 3, 2018 - 3:54 pm Reply


  • Lyndia Black September 3, 2018 - 8:01 pm Reply

    Finally, the truth is told. Anna, did help him escape from slavery. I have known this all alone, but it is never mentioned in the history of FD. You will be led to believe, that he escaped on his own. Not to bad mouth Fredrick, but when he became famous, and begin traveling, he begin playing on his wife. Articles was written about him, in the Liberator. Additionally, Anna, never let that bother her and it was said, that when he returned home, she always treated him like a royal guest. One of the problems was that Anna, refused to learn how to read and write. There are letters that he wrote his daughter Rosetta, about that. These letters can be found in, We Are Your Sisters. I forgot who the author was, but it detailed different women lives from 1799 to the early 20th century.

  • Cathy Greenhill September 4, 2018 - 6:45 pm Reply

    Thank you Linda Black for sharing the role of Anna in Frederick’s life. How too often does that happen for women in general?

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