Frederick Douglass: Autobiographies (LOA #68): Narrative of the Life / My Bondage and My Freedom / Life and Times

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Library of America, Feb 1, 1994 - Biography & Autobiography - 1126 pages
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Henry Louis Gates, Jr. presents the only authoritative edition of all three autobiographies by the escaped slave who became a great American leader.

Here in this Library of America volume are collected Frederick Douglass's 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), 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, and recounts his determined resistance to segregation in the North. The book also incorporates extracts from Douglass’s speeches, including the searing “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”

Life and Times, first published in 1881, records Douglass’s efforts to keep alive the struggle for racial equality udirng Reconstruction. 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.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
 

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User 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

Autobiographies

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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

Contents

NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS
1
MY BONDAGE AND MY FREEDOM
103
INTRODUCTION
125
CHAPTER I
139
CHAPTER II
146
GRADUAL INITIATION INTO THE MYSTERIES OF SLAVERY
171
CHAPTER VI
178
The Singing of the Slaves no Proof of Contentment
184
The Betrayal Discovered
316
A New set of Tormentors
322
Return to BaltimoreChange in Little Tommy
328
Author a Wanderer in New York Feelings on Reaching
349
Contrast between the North and the South
355
First Acquaintance with the Liberator
362
Becomes a Public Lecturer
365
Letter to Mr Garrison
372

Beams of Sunlight
206
Kindness of my new MistressLittle Tommy
212
Increased Determination to Learn
218
pursued my EducationMy Tutors
223
CHAPTER XII
229
CHAPTER XIII
236
Return to BaltimoreDeath of Mistress Lucretia
240
Allowance of FoodSufferings from Hunger
246
No more Meal brought from the Mill Methodist
252
Escape to St Michaels Suffering in the Woods
273
An AlarmA Friend not an Enemy
279
Coveys Ineffectual Commands for Assistance
285
A Device of Slavery
291
Reasons for continued Discontent
297
CHAPTER XIX
303
Authors ConfederatesHis Influence over them
309
Conflict of Hopes and FearsIgnorance of Geography
310
How the Authors Energies were Directed in Great
378
Dr Cunninghams SpeechA Striking Incident
384
Motives for going to Rochester
391
Elevation of the Free People of Color Pledge for
398
Letter to his Old Master
412
The Nature of Slavery
419
Inhumanity of Slavery
425
LIFE AND TIMES OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS
453
Character of its Editor 362
475
CHAPTER III
482
CHAPTER XXIII
506
INTRODUCED TO THE ABOLITIONISTS
660
Chronology
1049
Note on the Texts
1078
Index I109
1109
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

Born a slave, Frederick Douglass (c. 1818-1895) educated himself, escaped, and made himself one of the greatest leaders in American history. 

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
, editor, is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Emmy Award–winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder, Gates has authored or coauthored twenty-one books and created fifteen documentary films.

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