Federick Douglass was a compelling force in the anti-slavery movement. A man of moral authority, Douglass developed into a charismatic public speaker. Prominent abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison recognized his oratory skill and hired him as a speaker for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. Douglass worked with many notable abolitionists of the nineteenth century including Wendell Phillips and Abby Kelley.
Douglass also had a close relationship with John Brown and his family. However, he disagreed with Brown's violent tactics that were dramatically displayed in Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry in 1859. With the abolishment of slavery at the close of the Civil War, Douglass then turned his attention to the full integration of the African-American into political and economic life of the United States.
Douglass established his own weekly abolitionist newspaper, the North Star, that became a major voice of African-American opinion. Later, through his periodical titled the Douglass Monthly, he recruited black Union soldiers for the African-American Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Volunteers. His sons Lewis and Charles both served in this regiment and saw combat.
Douglass worked to retain the hard-won advances of African-Americans. However, the progress made during Reconstruction soon eroded as the twentieth century approached. Frederick Douglass spent his last years opposing lynching and supporting the rights of women.n.