First page of a 19 page manuscript entitled 'Incidents in the home life of Frederick Douglass' written by Charles Remond Douglass, dated 1917. From the Walter O and Linda Evans Collection.
Having escaped chattel slavery in 1838, the anti-slavery author and campaigner Frederick Douglass married Anna Murray, a free woman, later the same year. They had two daughters (Rosetta, born 1839 and Annie, born 1849), and three sons (Lewis Henry, born 1840, Frederick Jr., born 1842 and Charles Remond, born 1844).
In a 1917 manuscript shown here, entitled 'Incidents in the home life of Frederick Douglass', Charles Remond Douglass chronicles the life of Frederick Douglass not as a former enslaved person, nor a professional orator, but as a father.
On page 11 Charles Remond writes:
'My fathers [sic] home life during my childhood days was not prolonged. My mother was the head of the house. She was the banker, the baker and general manager of the home. My father was in the field. The home-coming was for a brief season of rest from his labors.'
This manuscript reveals that the whole family played their part to support the abolitionist cause. On page four Charles Remond shares how he and his siblings pulled together to produce the antislavery publication the 'North Star':
'My brothers and sister were taken from school one day in each week to attend to the folding and mailing of the paper until they became old enough to be apprenticed at the trade of type-setting, being too young I was continued in School until at the age of ten I was taken from school one day in each week to deliver the paper to local subscribers.'
As well as its factual content, the manuscript reveals poignant insights into the children's lives as the family fought against slavery, for example, as Charles Remond writes on page eight:
'The taunts of the school children whose parents were pro-slavery made the further attendance at No.13 school of my youngest sister Annie and myself intolerable, so mother took her out of school at the age of 11 and sent her to a private teacher.'