Anna Murray DouglassThe Hidden History of Anna Murray DouglassAlthough sheÕs often overshadowed by her husband, Frederick Douglass, Anna made his work possible.Anna Murray Douglass helped Frederick escape from slavery, and continued to support his abolitionist work for the rest of her life.By Lorraine Boissoneaultsmithsonian.comMarch 5, 2018ÒThe story of Frederick DouglassÕ hopes and aspirations and longing desire for freedom has been toldÑyou all know it. It was a story made possible by the unswerving loyalty of Anna Murray.ÓSo began Rosetta Douglass Sprague, daughter of Anna and Frederick Douglass, in a speech delivered in 1900 that later became the book My Mother As I Recall Her. It remains one of the few works that focuses on Anna Murray Douglass, in contrast to the hundreds that have been written on Frederick Douglass and his legacy. That neglect is in part due to the paucity of materials available on Anna; she was largely illiterate and left behind few physical traces of her life, whereas Frederick wrote thousands of letters and multiple books. But without Anna, Frederick may never have achieved such fame for his abolitionismÑor even escaped slavery.Frederick and Anna met in 1838, when he still went by the surname Bailey and she by Murray. The daughter of enslaved parents in rural Maryland around 1813, Anna was the first of her siblings to be born free after her parents were manumitted. She lived with her parents until the age of 17, at which point she headed for Baltimore and found work as a domestic helper. Over the years she managed to earn and save money; the vibrant community of more than 17,000 free blacks in the Maryland city organized black churches and schools despite repressive laws restricting their freedoms. When she met FrederickÑhistorians disagree on the when and where their acquaintance occurred, but it may have been in attending the same churchÑshe was financially prepared to start a life with him. But first, he needed freedom.By borrowing a f

Leave a Reply