Love Across Color Lines: Ottilie Assing and Frederick Douglass

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Hill and Wang, 1999 - Social Science - 480 pages
In 1856 Ottilie Assing, an intrepid journalist who had left Germany after the failed revolution of 1848, traveled to Rochester, New York, to interview Frederick Douglass for a German newspaper. This encounter transformed the lives of both: they became intimate friends, they stayed together for twenty-eight years, and she translated his autobiography into German. Diedrich reveals in fascinating detail their shared intellectual and cultural interests and how they worked together on his abolitionist writings. As is clear from letters and diaries, Douglass was enchanted with his vivacious companion but believed that any liaison with a white woman would be fatal to his political mission. Assing was keenly aware of his dilemma but certain he would marry her once his mission was fulfilled. She was bitterly disappointed: after his wife's death, Douglass did remarry - but he married another woman. Assing committed suicide, leaving her estate to Douglass.

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LOVE ACROSS COLOR LINES: Ottilie Assing and Frederick Douglass

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A breakthrough biography of Douglass's private life, highlighting the fruitful and romantic relationship between the abolitionist and former slave and his German translator and companion. Diedrich is ... Read full review

Love across color lines: Ottilie Assing and Frederick Douglass

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Diedrich's history resurrects 19th-century prejudice, sexism, morality, and class-consciousness in Europe and the United States while also showing a fallible side of Frederick Douglass, the renowned ... Read full review

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About the author (1999)

Maria Diedrich, born in 1950, is a professor of American studies at the University of Munster, Germany. Since 1984, she has been a Fellow at the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research at Harvard University.

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