1838 S$1 J-84 RESTRIKE PR65

Grading Service: PCGS
SKU: 143435
Cert Number: 46093076

Escaping slavery was no small ask before the Civil War when several laws had been put in place to avoid the loss of, what their masters considered, property. In fact, along any means of travel several officials were set forth to examine and inspect the freedom papers given to every African-American at the time. For the most part, it was a sure fire system that many would not attempt to deceive due to the horrific repercussions that awaited them should they be caught. However, it was not a completely fool-proof system, as with anything, which worked graciously for the infamous Frederick Douglass as he escaped slavery on September 3, 1838. Douglass, then named Frederick Augustus William Bailey, had attempted an escape two years prior at the age of eighteen that was cut off by betrayal from a fellow slave. Douglass (Bailey) was then jailed, sent to Baltimore, and rented out to work on the shipyards as a consequence. Fortunately for him, however, this may have been the best possible punishment in the long run since he was able to achieve freedom soon after. On September 3rd, Douglass had borrowed the identity and uniform of a fellow African-American man who was a free sailor. Seamen were given passes that acted as “free papers” when they traveled, but these usually included a thorough description of the owner- which Douglass did not even closely resemble. Frederick knew that if he were to be meticulously inspected, the description alone would give him away as a runaway- so to avoid the first tribulation he hoped aboard the train to New York at the very last minute. Still he was met with his first obstacle shortly after when the conductor came around to collect fair and papers. This very scenario proved that not everyone was as thorough as they should be during inspection because the conductor quickly looked over his pass, collected his fare, and moved on. This was but the first of many challenges Douglass faced within the twenty-four hours it took to travel to New York. Besides several other inspections, Douglass came across three acquaintances that could have very easily turned him in- but thankfully they did not. By the time Douglass landed in the Big Apple, he was exhausted from a day rife with anxiety, but his escape was not over yet. He was still not free legally so he had to avoid the copious amount of slave catchers that roamed the streets of the city; he did so by staying with an anti-slavery advocate David Ruggles until his intended wife arrived. Once the freed house-keeper, Anna Murray, arrived from Baltimore and they were wed, she and Douglass let toward Bedford, Massachusetts and stepped a little closer to freedom. It was in Bedford that Douglass was able to begin his career as a prominent abolitionist and purchase his freedom- of course with the help of some supporters who raised money. Finally Frederick Douglass achieved what so many had died for and he knew not to take it for granted as he consistently fought for the end of slavery all through his life.

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