Henry Louis Gates, Jr. presents the only authoritative edition of all three autobiographies by the escaped slave who became a great American leader.
Born a slave, Frederick Douglass educated himself, escaped, and made himself one of the greatest leaders in American history. Here in this Library of America volume are collected his three autobiographical narratives, now recognized as classics of both American history and American literature. Writing with the eloquence and fierce intelligence that made him a brilliantly effective spokesman for the abolition of slavery and equal rights, Douglass shapes an inspiring vision of self-realization in the face of monumental odds.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845), published seven years after his escape, was written in part as a response to skeptics who refused to believe that so articulate an orator could ever have been a slave. A powerfully compressed account of the cruelty and oppression of the Maryland plantation culture into which Douglass was born, it brought him to the forefront of the anti-slavery movement and drew thousands, black and white, to the cause.
In My Bondage and My Freedom (1855), written after he had established himself as a newspaper editor, Douglass expands the account of his slave years. With astonishing psychological penetration, he probes the painful ambiguities and subtly corrosive effects of black-white relations under slavery, then goes on to recount his determined resistance to segregation in the North. The book also incorporates extracts from Douglass's renowned speeches, including the searing "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?"
Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, first published in 1881, records Douglass's efforts to keep alive the struggle for racial equality in the years following the Civil War. Now a socially and politically prominent figure, he looks back, with a mixture of pride and bitterness, on the triumphs and humiliations of a unique public career. John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, William Lloyd Garrison, and Harriet Beecher Stowe all feature prominently in this chronicle of a crucial epoch in American history. The revised edition of 1893, presented here, includes an account of his controversial diplomatic mission to Haiti.
This volume contains a detailed chronology of Douglass's life, notes providing further background on the events and people mentioned, and an account of the textual history of each of the autobiographies.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - lanewillson - LibraryThing
I knew of Fredrick Douglass as a historical figure, which is to say, I really knew virtually nothing abut the man. Daughter Hannah gave me Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln for ... Read full review
AutobiographiesUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Douglass (1818-95), a former slave, rose to become an abolitionist, writer, and orator. In this collection of his autobiographical writings, edited by Gates (humanities, Harvard Univ.), he gives an ... Read full review
NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS
MY BONDAGE AND MY FREEDOM
Brutal Outrage on my Aunt Milly by a drunken Overseer
Conclusions at which he Arrived
Food and Clothing of the Slaves
Conflict of Hopes and FearsIgnorance of Geography 510
Danger of DiscoverDifficulty of Concealment
Passes EatenThe Examination at St Michaels
Contrast between the North and the South
First Acquaintance with the Liberator
Becomes a Public Lecturer
Beams of Sunlight
Kindness of my new MistressLittle Tommy
Increased Determination to Learn
pursued my EducationMy Tutors
Knowledge ever IncreasingMy Eyes Opened
New Hopes and Aspirations
Sad Prospects and Grief
Return to BaltimoreDeath of Mistress Lucretia
Allowance of FoodSufferings from Hunger
No more Meal brought from the MillMethodist
Escape to St MichaelsSuffering in the Woods
An AlarmA Friend not an Enemy
Coveys Ineffectual Commands for Assistance
A Device of Slavery
The Reverend Rigby Hopkins
Affectionate Relations of Master and Pupils
Time and Labors Abroad
Agitation of the Slavery Question
Dr Cunninghams SpeechA Striking Incident
Motives for going to Rochester
Elevation of the Free People of ColorPledge for
Letter to his Old Master
The Nature of Slavery
Inhumanity of Slaver
LIFE AND TIMES OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS
Note on the Texts