Social Reformer, Human Rights Leader. Black American who was one of the most eminent human rights leaders of the 19th century. His oratorical and literary brilliance thrust him into the forefront of the U.S. abolition movement and he became the first black citizen to hold hight rank in the U.S government. Separated as an infant from his slave mother, he never knew his white father, Frederick lived with his grandmother on a Maryland plantation until at the age of eight, his owner sent him to Baltimore to live as a house servant with the family of Hugh Auld, whose wife defied state law by teaching the boy to read. But Auld declared that learning would make him unfit for slavery and Frederick was forced to continue his education surreptitously with the aid of schoolboys in the street. Upon the death of his master, he was returned to the plantation as a field hand at 16. Later he was hired out in Baltimore as a ship caulker. He tried to escape with the three others in 1833, but the plot was discovered before they could get away. five years later, however, he fled to New York City and and then to New Bedford, Massachsetts, where he worked as a laborer for three years, eluding slave hunters by changing his name to Douglass. Douglass helped to win many new friends for the Abolition Movement and to cement the bonds of humanitarian reform between the continents. Douglass returned with funds to purchase his freedom and also to start his own antislavery newspaper, the "North Star", which he published from 1847 to 1860 at Rochester, New York.