First page of a two page letter from Frederick Douglass to Charles Remond Douglass dated 7 October 1893. From the Walter O and Linda Evans Collection.
Frederick Douglass escaped from chattel slavery in 1838 and devoted his life to the abolitionist cause. As well as being a renowned author, orator and political radical he was a husband and father to five children.
A lesser-seen side of Frederick Douglass is revealed in this personal letter written to his youngest son, Charles Remond (whom he addresses: 'My dear Charley'). Dated 7 October 1893, it was written by Douglass when he served as the Haiti representative at the World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago.
In the short letter, Frederick Douglass reveals the toll his passion and commitment to the freedom struggle took on his life as a private individual. At the start of the letter he writes:
'I am still suffering from my cough and am tempted to break away and come home. This climate here is very most moist and changeable, and I do not recover from one cold before I am down with another. I shall try however to pull through to the end of the Fair'.
On the second page of the letter, he gives further insight into the impact of his work as a high-profile anti-slavery campaigner on his personal life:
'I shall rejoice when I can again plant my feet on Cedar Hill. It seems hard to have such a home and enjoy it so little. Still, perhaps I ought to be content. I am certainly doing some good in the life I am living. I am holding up the standard for my people – You would be proud to see respect and esteem I am every where commanding for my race as well as for myself'.
Read more about the Douglass family home Cedar Hill.