2018 is the 200th anniversary of Frederick Douglass's birth.
Born on a farm on the banks of the Tuckahoe Creek, Frederick Douglass’s life would forever be interwoven with his home state of Maryland. That same beautiful place that he loved so deeply, was the place where he was stripped of liberty, ripped from his family, and bound by the literal chains of slavery.
In Fells Point in Baltimore, Douglass cunningly watched other children read and taught himself to do the same, absorbing knowledge to feed his powerful mind. Intellectual curiosity fueled his confidence and determination to find freedom. While his body remained enslaved, young Frederick Douglass became resolved to liberate every enslaved man, woman and child in the nation.
Explore Frederick Douglass's story in Maryland through the following tours, events and Douglass biography.
Frederick Douglass’s Beloved Birthplace and Triumphant Homecoming on the Eastern Shore
“I am an Eastern Shoreman, with all that name implies. Eastern Shore corn and Eastern Shore pork gave me my muscle. I love Maryland and the Eastern Shore!”
Begin your journey on the Eastern Shore at The Frederick Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe near Holme Hill Farm where Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born. Visit Easton and the former Talbot County Jail where Douglass was once imprisoned after a failed attempt to escape to freedom; and the Frederick Douglass Statue at the Talbot County Courthouse, the site of his famous 1878 “Self-Made Men” speech. And explore “The Hill,” a historic African-American neighborhood where Douglass spoke at the Bethel A.M.E. Church and Asbury United Methodist Church.
Drive west on MD 33 to the town of St. Michaels. When he was just 15 years old, Douglass started a Sunday school here where he secretly taught enslaved people to read. Stay at the Dr. Dodson House Bed and Breakfast, once the home of Louisa Bruff, his former master Thomas Auld’s daughter, and where Douglass was later welcomed as an honored guest.
Head to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum where you’ll find the Mitchell House, home of Douglass’s sister Eliza Bailey Mitchell and her family. The site provides a view of the lifestyle of middle-class free African Americans in the 19th century. And visit the St. Michaels Museum at St. Mary's Square, which hosts a Frederick Douglass Walking Tour on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month from May through October.
Just west of St. Michaels, visit the Inn at Perry Cabin, once home of the Hambleton family who freed their slaves prior to the Civil War and offered free blacks a chance to rent land and build homes. Continue west on MD 33 to Tilghman Island, a maritime village with sweeping scenic views of the Chesapeake Bay. Along the way, you’ll pass the site of the former Covey Farm, where the infamous slave-breaker Edward Covey tried, and failed, to break Douglass’s mighty spirit.