Did you know…that Lower Manhattan was a major station stop on the Underground Railroad, sheltering Frederick Douglass and other historical figures?
Disguised as a freed sailor, Frederick Washington Bailey, later known as Frederick Douglass, arrived in Lower Manhattan after escaping from a Maryland plantation on September 3, 1838. Upon his arrival, Bailey found safety with David Ruggles, an Underground Railroad conductor and free black abolitionist who helped more than 1,000 men and women escape from slavery. While in Lower Manhattan, Bailey stayed at a boarding house located at the corner of Church and Lispenard Streets in Tribeca. He soon married Anna Murray, a free woman who he had met in Baltimore, and, with the help of Ruggles and the New York Vigilance Committee, fled to Massachusetts where he became a prominent abolitionist, author, and human rights advocate. Before leaving New York, Frederick Washington Bailey changed his name to Frederick Douglass to further evade capture.