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Biography - Frederick Douglass. The self-taught orator, writer, and abolitionist who was born a slave in the South and made a brave escape to the North, was in the words of one historian: A major figure in the coming of the Civil War, and the way the Civil War was fought. I think you can say he was the conscience of the nation. Douglass campaigned Lincoln to free the slaves and allow African Americans to serve in the nation's army. An early proponent of women's rights, he campaigned for equal rights for all people up to his death in 1895 at the age of 78. (DVD Running Time Approx. 50 Minutes Color/BW)