Anna Murray Douglass was born free in rural Maryland. She grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, where she met Frederick Douglass (at that time Frederick Washington Bailey). Murray Douglass “facilitated [Douglass’] second escape attempt by providing money and a sailor’s disguise” [1].

Upon escaping to New York, the couple married. They then settled “in two rooms on ‘M’ Street overlooking Buzzard’s Bay in New Bedford, Massachusetts.” It was here that the couple took on the surname Douglass [2].

In 1847, Murray Douglass, Douglass, and their children moved to Rochester, New York. There, Murray Douglass hosted Brown “for over a month…while he sought refuge from authorities regarding his acts in Missouri.” In 1858, Brown stayed at the Douglass home and began to plan the Harpers Ferry Raid and drafted his “Provisional Constitution” [3].

Murray Douglass passed away on August 4, 1882, at the Douglass’ home, Cedar Hill, near Washington D.C. She was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York [4].



[1] Yee, Shirley. “Anna Murray Douglass (c. 1813-1882),” Black Past,

[2] Bennett, Lerone Jr. Pioneers in Protest. University of Michigan Press, 1969, p. 200. 

[3] Jackson, Kellie Carter. Force And Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020, p. 116. 

[4] Yee, Shirley. “Anna Murray Douglass (c. 1813-1882),” Black Past,