“…slaves know as little of their age as horses know of theirs…” – Frederick Douglass, 1845

Frederick Douglass at Mt. Vernon, FRDO-5080, Courtesy of FDNHS

Frederick Douglass at Mt. Vernon, FRDO-5080, Courtesy of FDNHS

“I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen an authentic record containing it. By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their age as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant. I do not remember to have ever met a slave who could tell of his birthday.” – opening paragraph of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, 1845

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