In this, the first and most frequently read of his three autobiographies, Douglass provides graphic descriptions of his childhood and horrifying experiences as a slave as well as a harrowing record of his dramatic escape to the North and eventual freedom.
Published in 1845 to quell doubts about his origins — since few slaves of that period could write — the Narrative is admired today for its extraordinary passion, sensitive and vivid descriptions and storytelling power. It belongs in the library of anyone interested in African-American history and the life of one of the country's most courageous and influential champions of civil rights. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
First published in 1845, Narrativeof the Life of Frederick Douglass is an eye-opening depiction of American slavery. Part autobiography, part human-rights treatise, it describes the everyday horrors inflicted on captive laborers, as well as the strength and courage needed to survive.
Born into slavery on a Maryland plantation in 1818, Frederick Douglass spent years secretly teaching himself to read and write—a crime for which he risked life and limb. After two failed escapes, Douglass finally, blessedly boarded a train in 1838 that would eventually lead him to New York City, and freedom.
Few books have done more to change America’s notion of African Americans than this seminal work. Beyond its historical and social relevancy, it is admired today for its gripping stories, intensity of spirit, and heartfelt humanity.
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A bestseller when published in 1845, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass was an influential text in the anti-slavery movement, and the power and clarity of Douglass’s writing were a credible counter-argument to the prejudiced opinions towards African-Americans held by many at the time.
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Commentary by Jean Fagan Yellin and Margaret Fuller
This Modern Library edition combines two of the most important African American slave narratives—crucial works that each illuminate and inform the other.
Frederick Douglass’s Narrative, first published in 1845, is an enlightening and incendiary text. Born into slavery, Douglass became the preeminent spokesman for his people during his life; his narrative is an unparalleled account of the dehumanizing effects of slavery and Douglass’s own triumph over it.
Like Douglass, Harriet Jacobs was born into slavery, and in 1861 she published Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, now recognized as the most comprehensive antebellum slave narrative written by a woman. Jacobs’s account broke the silence on the exploitation of African American female slaves, and it remains essential reading.
Includes a Modern Library Reading Group Guide
From the Trade Paperback edition.
One of the most important figures of the Civil War, Frederick Douglass, was born into slavery but rose to become a tremendous orator, an impassioned abolitionist, and a representative of all who remained voiceless through slavery and oppression. His narrative resonates today with its eloquence, its incendiary history, and its profound and moving arguments for the humanity, and the equality, of Americans.
1. A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave is a memoir and treatise on abolition written by former slave, Frederick Douglass. The text, first published in 1845, describes the events of his life and encompasses eleven chapters that recount Douglass' life as a slave and his ambition to become a free man. It is considered to be one of the most influential pieces of literature to fuel the abolitionist movement of the early 19th century in the United States.
2. The Heroic Slave, a heartwarming Narrative of the Adventures of Madison Washington, in Pursuit of Liberty is a short piece of fiction written by famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The novella, published in 1852, was Douglass' first and only published work of fiction.
3. My Bondage and My Freedom is an autobiographical slave narrative written by Douglass and published in 1855. The book describes in greater detail his transition from bondage to liberty.
4. Life and Times of Frederick Douglass is Frederick Douglass' third autobiography, published in 1881 and revised in 1892. Because of the emancipation of American slaves during and following the American Civil War, Douglas gave more details about his life as a slave and his escape from slavery in this volume than he could in his two previous autobiographies.
5. My Escape from Slavery was published in 1881 in The Century Illustrated Magazine. His fully revised autobiography was published as Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, also in 1881. In this book Douglass describes in vivid detail his escape by train from Maryland, where he was legally a slave, north to New York City.
6. Self-Made Men is a famous lecture (1895). In this speech he gives his own definition of the self-made man and explains what he thinks are the means to become such a man.
7. The Speeches & Writings section contains 6 seminal texts: What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? (1852) - Reconstruction (1866) - An Appeal to Congress for Impartial Suffrage (1867) - Oration in Memory of Abraham Lincoln (1876) - The Color Line (1881) and The Future of the Colored Race (1886)
Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895) was an African-American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing.