Frederick Douglass’s “Escape from Slavery”

November 26, 2017

Frederick Douglass’s “My Escape from Slavery” takes place in America in the 1800’s, when times when African Americans were taken into slavery by many southern states such as Maryland. This autobiography shows Fredrick Douglass escaping from slavery then attaining a new free life traveling from Maryland to New York to New Bedford.

Fredrick Douglass was a colored man in slavery, at the state of Maryland, which he has escaped not by the criminal act but by luck, as he describes. His journey through his escaping the state of Maryland, which slavery was predominant, to the North to New Bedford, he did not have a free paper, which certified him as a freeman. However, he was able to cover himself from his escape by telling that he has a sailor’s protection from American Eagle. He encounters several dangers through the journey, however, he tells, that in the third of September, 1838, he has finally found himself as a freeman in a big city in New York.

Douglass, however, felt lonely without a home or friends. Douglass was not able to trust anyone there since not only that a black man was not to be trusted, other African American worked against themselves as well. Everyone was closed door against African Americans. Couple of days after living in New York, a man named Mr. David Ruggles took Douglass into his house to spend the night. Mr. Ruggles told to Douglass that for Douglass’s case, it may be better for him to move to New Bedford, Massachusetts. Mr. Ruggles told Douglas that many ships for whaling voyages were fitted out there and that there might be work for Douglass and making a living.

Douglass has traveled to New Bedford and found that the name, Johnson, was so prominent in the region already. He decided to name himself “Frederick Johnson” after a character in a book he was reading called “Lady of the Lake.” Douglas was surprised when not only that colored were not required by the state law to be governed by the state but also was not racially discriminated. Colored and white children went to the same school and no one said anything about it. Douglas started working, however, he needed to keep up. He was able to find a job quite fast but he needed to work hard. He finds that he cannot just make a living by working at Bedford and finds himself a job at a brass-foundry owned by Mr. Richmond. He worked night and day as he read the newspaper and magazine to educate himself as he worked. No one has complained about his work and found himself most satisfied working at Mr. Richmond.


Douglass, F. (1845). My Escape from slavery. Frederick Douglass. Retrieved from

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