Edward Covey

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Edward Covey (December 2, 1805 – May 2, 1875), a farmer of Talbot County, Maryland was an early 19th-century American slaveholder. He is described by Frederick Douglass in My Bondage and My Freedom (published in 1855) as a "first rate hand at breaking young negroes". In The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Douglass writes that "Mr. Covey had acquired a very high reputation for breaking young slaves, and this reputation was of immense value to him. It enabled him to get his farm tilled with much less expense to himself than he could have had it done without such a reputation". In 1833, Douglass was rented to Covey for a year so that Covey would break the teenage slave's spirit.[1]

One day, after numerous vicious beatings at Covey's hands, Douglass fought back. He fought off Covey's cousin and his fight with Covey himself, which lasted nearly two hours, ended with Douglass's victory. Douglass later wrote that "It is, perhaps, not altogether creditable to my natural temper, that, after this conflict with Mr. Covey, I did, at times, purposely aim to provoke him to an attack, by refusing to keep with the other hands in the field, but I could never bully him to another battle."[2]


  1. ^ Sandefur, Timothy (2008). "Douglas, Frederick (1818–895)". In Hamowy, Ronald. The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE; Cato Institute. pp. 126–28. ISBN 978-1412965804. LCCN 2008009151. OCLC 750831024. 
  2. ^ Douglass, Frederick (1855). My Bondage and My Freedom. 

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