1818 to 1835
Born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, a slave, in Tuckahoe, Talbot County, Maryland. Mother is a slave, Harriet Bailey, and father is a white man, rumored to be his master, Aaron Anthony. He had three older siblings, Perry, Sarah, and Eliza.
Raised by grandmother Betsey Bailey at Holme Hill Farm, where he was born; sees his mother only a few times.
Sister Kitty is born.
Sister Arianna is born.
Moves to plantation on Wye River, where he lives with his siblings Perry, Sarah, and Eliza.
Sees his mother for the last time.
His mother dies.
Sent to Baltimore to live with Hugh Auld and his wife Sophia. His master, Aaron Anthony, dies late in the year; Frederick becomes the property of Thomas Auld, Anthony's son-in-law. Thomas Auld sends him back to Hugh Auld.
Asks Sophia Auld to teach him to read. She does so until Hugh Auld stops them, believing that education makes slaves rebellious.
Works in shipyard as general assistant; practices reading and writing in secret.
Reads newspaper article on John Quincy Adams's antislavery petitions in Congress; learns of the abolitionist movement.
Buys copy of a compilation of speeches, Caleb Bingham's The Columbian Orator, with which he hones his reading and speaking skills.
Sister Sarah is sold to a planter in Mississippi.
Sent to St. Michaels, Maryland, where he works for Thomas Auld. Tries to teach other slaves to read until Auld discovers it and stops him.
Auld rents him out to farmer Edward Covey, known as a "slave breaker." He is beaten several times and finally fights back. Covey never tries to beat him again.
Hired out to work for William Freeland, a Talbot County, Maryland, farmer. Secretly organizes Sunday school and teaches other slaves to read.