Frederick Douglass was an African-American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing. He stood as a living counter-example to slaveholders' arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens. Many Northerners also found it hard to believe that such a great orator had been a slave.
Douglass wrote several autobiographies. He eloquently described his experiences as a slave in his 1845 autobiography, "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave", which became a bestseller and influential in supporting abolition, as did the second, "My Bondage and My Freedom". After the Civil War, Douglass remained an active campaigner against slavery and wrote his last autobiography, "Life and Times of Frederick Douglass." First published in 1881 and revised in 1892, three years before his death, it covered events through and after the Civil War. Douglass also actively supported women's suffrage, and held several public offices.