Frederick Douglass rose from slavery to become the leading African-American voice of the nineteenth century. At an early age, he realized that his ability to read was the key to freedom. All of his efforts from then on focused on achieving freedom.
As a young man, he came into contact with black preachers and taught in the Sabbath School in Baltimore. Here he refined his reading, writing, and speaking skills. At age twenty, Douglass escaped north to freedom. He settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts with his wife Anna Murray Douglass and joined the abolitionist movement.