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Frederick Douglass (September 2018): Douglass and Women

By Duncan R. Jamieson

Douglass and Women

Women in the World of Frederick Douglass, by historian Leigh Fought, traces how Douglas was separated from his mother, taught to read by his slave mistress, and assisted in his escape by a free black woman whom he later married. Maria Chapman and Elizabeth Cady Stanton helped promote his work around the world. Late in life, after the death of his first wife, Douglass shocked the world by marrying Helen Pitts, a white woman active in the feminist movement. Examining his speeches and writings, in Frederick Douglass on Women’s Rights editor Philip Foner discusses Douglass’s position in favor of women’s suffrage and the need to help women reach their full potential in all aspects of American society. Taking it a bit farther, Professor of English Gary L. Lemons, in Womanist Forefathers: Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. DuBois, examines the origins of black male feminism. Douglass’s feminist writings advanced his concept of racial uplift while undermining white supremacy.