Activist, abolitionist and first wife of famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Her unswerving loyalty throughout there 44 year marriage was the main-spring that supported her husband. She was an activist in her own right, participating vigorously in the circle of Massachusetts's reformers in the 1840's. Anna Murray Douglass, was born in Denton, Maryland. Her parents, Banarra and Mary Murray, were enslaved, as were her seven older siblings. Anna and her four younger brothers and sisters were born free. She moved to Baltimore at the age of 17 to work as a servant. Frederick and Anna met at a meeting of the East Baltimore Improvement Society. Anna, who was several years older than Frederick, was employed as a housekeeper. She assisted in Frederick's escape from slavery by sharing her meager savings with him. T his money helped pay for his train ticket north to New York and to the freedom he sought. When he arrived in New York, he sent for Anna and they were married in 1838. Soon they moved to New Bedford, MA. Their daughter Rosetta and sons Lewis and Frederick, Jr. were born there. Frederick first spoke out against the evils of slavery while living in New Bedford. In the early 1840's the Douglass family moved to Lynn, MA., where their son Charles was born. While living in Massachusetts Anna worked as a servant and shoe binder. She supported the family while Frederick lectured abroad for two years. Anna enjoyed their time in Lynn and was reluctant to leave their farm. The family moved to Rochester in 1847 when Frederick began publishing his abolitionist newspaper entitled The North Star. They bought a house there, and in 1849, Anna gave birth to their fifth child, a little girl they named Annie. They moved to a hilltop farm in the same town in 1852. Frederick's business trips kept him away from his family for long periods of time. Anna remained at home caring for their children and tending her garden. She had the reputation of being a model housekeeper who took pride in doing all the housework herself without hired help. Their five children were taught good manners and trained to be self-sufficient and industrious. An excellent money manager, her watchful spending laid the foundation for their prosperity. Anna was very proud of her husband and his work. She willingly entertained visitors from all backgrounds from famous people of the day to freedom seekers. Their home was tragically destroyed by a suspicious fire in 1872, and they moved to Washington, DC. They eventually bought Cedar Hill, a lovely home located in Anacostia, DC. Anna Douglass suffered a series of strokes and died in August of 1882, at Cedar Hill.
Bio by: Curtis Jackson