After he published his first autobiography, Frederick Douglass escaped to England to avoid capture and being sold back into slavery. During this time overseas, he wrote about the new experience of equal rights he found in England that he had never before encountered in America.

“Instead of the bright, blue sky of America, I am covered with the soft, grey fog of the Emerald Isle. I breath, and lo! the chattel becomes a man. I gaze around in vain for one who will question my equal humanity, claim me as his slave, or offer me an insult. I employ a cab—I am seated beside white people—I reach the hotel—I enter the same door—I am shown into the same parlor—I dine at the same table—and no one is offended. No delicate nose grows deformed in my presence. I find no difficulty here in obtaining admission into any place of worship, instruction, or amusement, on equal terms with people as white as any I ever saw in the United States. I meet nothing to remind me of my complexion. I find myself regarded and treated at every turn with the kindness and deference paid to white people.”

How Many African Americans in America?
When Frederick Douglass arrived back in the United States in 1846 after his two years in Great Britain, he doubled his efforts to bring an end to slavery and institute equal rights for free blacks. At that time, an estimated 3,000,000 (three million) men, women, and children lived under bondage as slaves. There were 400,000 (four hundred thousand) free African Americans, himself now included. By the time the Civil War broke out, nearly 15 years later, there were four million slaves in America.