7 Interesting facts about Frederick Douglass

Fought against segregation … in the North

The Massachusetts State House in Boston, Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts State House in Boston, Massachusetts. | Wikipedia/Ajay Suresh licensed under CC BY 2.0

In the 1840s, Douglass was part of the effort to battle the practice of segregation, but not in the South, but rather in Boston, Massachusetts.

In September 1841, as part of the effort to desegregate public transportation in the northern state, Douglass and a friend named James N. Buffum sat in a train car reserved for whites.

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“These two men, who were well-known as champions of the anti-slavery cause, entered the cars in Lynn, Massachusetts, on their way to Newburyport. The conductor of the train approached the two men and ordered them to leave the car,” explained Peter Lauranzano of Primary Research.

“Refusing to do so, two brakemen tried to physically remove the men. Before they could, a fight broke out between the two cars. … Douglass’ and Buffum’s actions led to similar incidents on the Eastern Railroad.”

The incident led to similar protests on northern railroads, which eventually led to Massachusetts passing a law abolishing race-based train seating in 1843.

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