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Sun, 11.12.1809

Francis Frederic wrote about slavery

Francis Frederic (book)

*The birth of Francis Fredric is celebrated on this date in 1809. He was a Black abolitionist and publisher.

He was born a slave on a plantation in Fauquier County, Virginia. When he was fourteen years old, Fredric's master moved to Mason County, Kentucky. His master's wife used him as a house slave. However, after attending a prayer meeting he was so badly whipped he ran away. He was free for nine weeks but was captured and received 107 lashes of the whip again.

With the support of a local farmer who opposed slavery, Fredric was put in touch with the Underground Railroad and in 1855; he met a Christian man who helped him escape to Canada on the Underground Railroad.  On this journey, he learned to read and write.  From Canada, Frederick went to the British Isles, where he traveled and lectured in hopes of helping other slaves.  He returned to North America and worked for the spiritual and physical betterment of Blacks in Canada, Boston, New York, and Baltimore. Fredric later moved to Liverpool in England where he published his autobiography, Fifty Years of Slavery, in 1869.

In this first-hand account, Frederic exposed a darker side of slavery, which included both physical violence and masters intentionally preventing slaves from learning.  His narrative also contains humorous anecdotes about slave life at his master's plantation. He described his escape on the Underground Railroad, his travels abroad, and the work he pursued when returning to the United States.  The death of Francis Fredric is not known.

Monique Prince


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