Frederick Douglass: New Bedford

Photograph of Frederick Douglass

"It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake."

Frederick Douglass, born in 1818, was a prominent abolitionist, orator, and human-rights activist. His 1845 work Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, along with two other autobiographies, became an important firsthand account of the experience of slaves in America. 

Douglass escaped slavery in 1838 and settled for a time in New Bedford, where he and his wife Anna moved into the house of abolitionists Nathan and Mary (Polly) Johnson on 21 Seventh Street. The former home and Underground Railroad site now houses the New Bedford Historical Society. The society is in the process of restoring the house to serve as a museum and educational exhibit space.

The Nathan and Polly Johnson House