Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895) visited Andover several times, beginning in the 1840s in his early years as a speaker for the abolitionist cause. He spoke at anti-slavery meetings held at the home of Andover’s William Jenkins, who “operated” the town’s busiest Underground Railroad station. After one well-attended meeting that lasted well into the night, Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins were hard pressed to find room for the segregated sleeping quarters to which even the most ardent abolitionists were accustomed. “Put him with me,” said fellow guest William Lloyd Garrison, “I’d be proud to sleep with Fred.”
Douglass maintained a fond and lively correspondence with Harriet Beecher Stowe during her Andover years, and visited her here. He hoped that she would invest some of her Uncle Tom proceeds in his plans for training schools for freed slaves. She apparently never did, but they maintained a firm friendship, even while his relationships with others, including Garrison, floundered.
Douglass also frequently lectured in Lawrence and at the Andover Town Hall. The topic of his October 31, 1865 speech was “the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln and its Lessons.”