Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave: A Library of America Paperback Classic

Library of America

One of the greatest works of American autobiography, in a definitive Library of America text: Published seven years after his escape from slavery, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845) is a powerful account of the cruelty and oppression of the Maryland plantation culture into which Frederick Douglass was born. It brought him to the forefront of the antislavery movement and drew thousands, black and white, to the cause. Written in part as a response to skeptics who refused to believe that so articulate an orator could ever have been a slave, the Narrative reveals the eloquence and fierce intelligence that made Douglass a brilliantly effective spokesman for abolition and equal rights, as he shapes an inspiring vision of self-realization in the face of unimaginable odds.
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"Now," said he, "if you teach that nigger (speaking of myself) how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master. As to himself, it would do him no good, but a great deal of harm. It would make him discontented and unhappy." These words sank deep into my heart, stirred up sentiments within that lay slumbering, and called into existence an entirely new train of thought. It was a new and special revelation... -from Chapter VI It may be a measure of how far we have come, as a nation and as human beings, to feel shock to realize that one of the greatest Americans ever to have graced the cultural stage-editor, orator, author, statesman, and reformer FREDERICK DOUGLASS (1818-1895)-was born into bondage, merely by dint of the color of his skin. Taught to read and write by the wife of his owner, however, he escaped into an intellectual world that would become his extraordinary battleground for the freedom of those enslaved and, indeed, for the future of the United States. This work, first published in 1845, is the first of three autobiographies Douglass penned, and it became one of the most influential documents of a life in slavery ever written, as well as a powerful spur to the then-burgeoning abolitionist movement. From his childhood of abuse, neglect, and separation from family to his dramatic escape to the North, this is a stunning work of both literature and politics. An absolute classic not only of African-American history but of the history of the advance of human civilization, this is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the turbulent story of the United States in the 19th century.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Library of America
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Published on
Oct 9, 2014
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Pages
128
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ISBN
9781598533705
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Historical
History / United States / 19th Century
Social Science / Slavery
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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