Born into slavery around 1817, in Maryland, Frederick Douglass learned to read and write while still enslaved as a young man, and escaped from bondage in 1838. The publication of his first book established him as a leader in the abolitionist movement. He was most active in Massachusetts and New York, where he gave speeches, ran an abolitionist newspaper, and aided hundreds of enslaved people escaping to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Following the ratification of the 13th Amendment, Douglass continued to fight for the voting rights and civil liberties of Black people, and was a prominent activist for women’s suffrage. A writer, preacher, orator, and agitator until the day he died, at age 77, Douglass remains one of history’s most influential and inspirational figures.