Famed orator, activist and abolitionist Frederick Douglass became one of the nation’s most revered figures during the pre-Civil War and Civil War eras. After escaping slavery, Douglass turned his attention to the budding abolitionist movement sweeping the North. It wasn’t long before he would pen his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. His commitment to the anti-slavery movement and, later, to women’s suffrage was undeniable. In an era when tempers flared and tensions were high on a number of social and political issues, it came as a shock to 19th-century sensibilities when Douglass married his second wife Helen Pitts, a young, white feminist. Though the couple’s relationship was widely decried, Douglass answered criticism just as eloquently as he always conducted himself, saying his first marriage was to someone the color of his mother, while his second was to someone the color of his father.