Frederick Douglass

Douglas c. 1879, National Archives and Records Administration, DOD War and Conflict CD collection

Birth Name: Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey

Date of Birth: c. February, 1818

Place of Birth: Talbot County, Maryland, U.S.

Date of Death: February 20, 1895

Place of Death: Washington, D.C., U.S.

Ethnicity: African-American, likely English

Frederick Douglass was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, diplomat, journalist, writer, and statesman. He served as U.S. Minister Resident to Haiti, from June 26, 1889 to July 1891.

He was the Equal Rights Party’s nominee for Vice President of the United States in 1872, as the running mate of Presidential nominee Victoria Woodhull. He also received a vote for the nomination for President of the United States at the 1888 Republican National Convention.

Frederick was born into slavery. His mother, Harriet Bailey, was black, and also a slave.

It is not clear who Frederick’s biological father was. He may have been Aaron Anthony, a white overseer of slaves.

Frederick was married to abolitionist Anna Murray-Douglass, until her death. The couple had five children. Frederick was then married to suffragist and abolitionist Helen Pitts Douglass, until his death. Helen was white.

Frederick’s maternal grandfather was named Isaac Bailey.

Frederick’s maternal grandmother was named Betsey.

Frederick is also said to have had Native American ancestry. It is not clear if this Native American ancestry has been verified/documented.


Genealogy of Frederick Douglass –

Genealogy of Frederick Douglass (focusing on his mother’s side) –


Curious about ethnicity

9 Responses

  1. Robert says:

    “Frederick Douglass was born a slave in Tuckahoe, Talbot County, Maryland, and originally was named Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey. He was of mixed African, white, and Indian ancestry, but other than that, he knew little of his family background or even his exact date of birth. Douglass believed that he was born in February, 1817, yet subsequent research indicates that he may have been born a year later in February, 1818. Douglass never knew his father or anything about him except that he was a white man, possibly his master. Douglass’ mother was Harriet Bailey…”

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  2. confused504 says:

    his father was a white master but he never saw him

  3. msdawn0818 says:

    His father was white. I’m a descendant of Frederick Douglass. My grandmother’s mother was a Bailey and they hail from North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland. Pearl Bailey is also a distant relative.

  4. Fuzzybear says:

    To LiL V4CH4

    That’s not uncommon,they loved laying down with black women

  5. LiL V4CH4 says:

    I heard that he had a White father.

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