Actor Norman Matlock recreating a speech by abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Douglass was born into slavery around 1817, and was educated illegally by a sympathetic owner. He escaped and went to England to escape a bounty on his head and to rouse the international opinion against the institution of slavery. This speech, entitled "An Appeal to the British People" was given on May 12, 1846, in London. After the Civil War, Douglass lived in Washington, D.C., where he received a public appointment and worked as a journalist.