Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Escaped From A Den Of Lions

Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery on September 3rd 1838.

Frederick Douglas, whose real birth date is unknown, was an orator, social reformer, statesman, writer and an escaped slave.  He tried to escape slavery the first time when his owner a Colonel Lloyd hired him out to the plantation Freeland, but was unsuccessful.  In 1836 with a new owner named Covey he tried and failed again.  In 1837 Douglass met a free black woman in Baltimore, Maryland; Anna Murray, and fell in love.  Murray’s freedom and Douglass’ feelings for her made him want his freedom even more.

Finally Douglass made good his escaped on September 3rd 1838 by boarding a train disguised in a sailor’s uniform at Havre de Grace, Maryland.   Murray gave him her savings to cover his traveling cost, and obtained the uniform for him.  Douglass had gotten identification papers from a free black sailor.  He got off the train in Wilmington, Delaware and boarded the steamboat “The Quaker City” for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He then continued on another train, until reaching the safe house run by abolitionist David Ruggles in New York City.  Once he was safely in New York, Douglass sent for Murray, she joined him and they were married in the city September 15th 1838.

At a later date Douglass would write of his arrival in New York City, “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.”

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