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Activist, writer and lecturer Frederick Douglass remains famous for his ability to elicit emotion in those who studied his works or heard him speak. But when the abolitionist died unexpectedly at the age of 78, he had no message of his own to leave behind. So, it fell to The New York Times to describe the life of this great man – and his obituary may still move you to this day.

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And those tasked with remembering this historical icon had a wealth of material to wade through. After all, it would be an understatement to say that Douglass lived an incredible life. In 1838, for instance, he freed himself from slavery in Maryland and began a new life in Massachusetts. There, Douglass became an impassioned advocate for abolition, and fellow supporters of the cause lauded his intelligence and articulation.

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