Past Exhibitions :: Frederick Douglass Letters

Friday, February 9, 2007 - Friday, March 9, 2007
East Hall

Frederick Douglass

Six letters written by Frederick Douglass, former slave and prominent abolitionist, will be on exhibit in the East Hall of the New York State Museum. The letters provide valuable insight into antislavery activities in upstate New York in the years just before the Civil War.

Written between 1855 - 1857 to Miss Hannah Fuller, organizer of the Skaneateles Ladies Anti-Slavery Society, the letters show the close working relationship that Douglass forged with white women leaders of the antislavery movement. The letters clearly indicate that Douglass was an ardent proponent of womens rights and he recognized the contributions women made to the abolitionist movement. He also shared a warm personal friendship with Miss Fuller and her family.

Four of the letters discuss plans for a speaking engagement in Rochester, New York, for the anti-slavery activist William Wells Brown. Like Douglass, Brown was born a slave. After escaping in 1834, Brown worked as a conductor on the Underground Railroad and became a well-known abolitionist speaker and author. These letters show that, though working for the same cause, Douglass and Brown were rivals for prominence within the movement.

The Frederick Douglass letters are in the collection of the New York State Library.

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