Returning to the Eastern Shore, at fifteen, Douglass became a field hand, and experienced most of the horrifying conditions that plagued slaves. After an aborted escape attempt when he was about eighteen, he was sent back to Baltimore to live with the Auld family, and in early September, 1838, at the age of twenty, Douglass succeeded in escaping from slavery by impersonating a sailor.
He went first to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he and his new wife Anna Murray began to raise a family. Whenever he could, he attended abolitionist meetings, and, in October, 1841, after attending an anti-slavery convention on Nantucket Island, Douglass became a lecturer for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society.
This work led him into public speaking and writing. He even published his own newspaper, The North Star, participated in the first women's rights convention at Seneca Falls, in 1848, and wrote three autobiographies. He was internationally recognized as an abolitionist, a tireless worker for justice and equal rights, including those of women.
He became a trusted advisor to Abraham Lincoln, United States Marshal for the District of Columbia, Recorder of Deeds for Washington, D.C., and Minister-General to the Republic of Haiti. Frederick Douglass died on 20 February 1895, at his home in Anacostia, Washington, DC.