Children of this Relationship
Relationship Information, Quotes, and Trivia
Where and/or how did Frederick Douglass and Anna Murray-Douglass meet?
Why did Frederick Douglass and Anna Murray-Douglass break up?
Anna died of a stroke.
Other Relationship Information about Frederick Douglass and Anna Murray-Douglass :
Murray's freedom made Douglass believe in the possibility of his own. When he decided to escape slavery in 1838, Murray encouraged and helped him by providing Douglass with some sailor's clothing her laundry work gave her access to.
She also gave him part of her savings, which she augmented by selling one of her feather beds.
After Douglass had made his way to Philadelphia and then New York, Murray followed him, bringing enough goods with her to be able to start a household.
At first they took Johnson as their name, but upon moving to New Bedford, Massachusetts, they adopted Douglass as their married name.
Murray-Douglass had five children within the first ten years of the marriage. She helped support the family financially, working as a laundress and learning to make shoes, as Douglass's income from his speeches was sporadic.
She also took an active role in the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society and later prevailed upon her husband to train their sons as typesetters for his abolitionist newspaper, North Star.
After the family moved to Rochester, New York, she established a headquarters for the Underground Railroad from her home, providing food, board and clean linen for hundreds of fugitive slaves on their way to Canada.
Murray-Douglass received little mention in Douglass's autobiographies. Henry Louis Gates has written that "Douglass had made his life story a sort of political diorama in which she had no role"
His long absences from home and her feeling that as a relatively uneducated woman she did not fit in with the social circles Douglass was now moving in, led to a degree of estrangement between them, in contrast to their earlier closeness.
Hurt by her husband's liaisons with other women, she nevertheless remained loyal to Douglass's public role; her daughter Rosetta reminded those who admired her father that his "was a story made possible by the unswerving loyalty of Anna Murray."