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Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

by David W. Blight

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4841636,008 (4.41)29
"The definitive, dramatic biography of the most important African-American of the nineteenth century: Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era. As a young man Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Maryland. He was fortunate to have been taught to read by his slave owner mistress, and he would go on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. He wrote three versions of his autobiography over the course of his lifetime and published his own newspaper. His very existence gave the lie to slave owners: with dignity and great intelligence he bore witness to the brutality of slavery. Initially mentored by William Lloyd Garrison, Douglass spoke widely, often to large crowds, using his own story to condemn slavery. He broke with Garrison to become a political abolitionist, a Republican, and eventually a Lincoln supporter. By the Civil War and during Reconstruction, Douglass became the most famed and widely traveled orator in the nation. He denounced the premature end of Reconstruction and the emerging Jim Crow era. In his unique and eloquent voice, written and spoken, Douglass was a fierce critic of the United States as well as a radical patriot. He sometimes argued politically with younger African-Americans, but he never forsook either the Republican party or the cause of black civil and political rights. In this remarkable biography, David Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historians have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass's newspapers. Blight tells the fascinating story of Douglass's two marriages and his complex extended family. Douglass was not only an astonishing man of words, but a thinker steeped in Biblical story and theology. There has not been a major biography of Douglass in a quarter century. David Blight's Frederick Douglass affords this important American the distinguished biography he deserves"-- "An acclaimed historian's definitive biography of the most important African-American figure of the 19th century, Frederick Douglass, who was to his century what Martin Luther King, Jr. was to the 20th century"--… (more)

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» See also 29 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
A triumph of a biography from first to last. Blight has managed to tell the story of this complicated American hero in a masterful way. ( )
  JBD1 | Jul 26, 2020 |
This is a Pulitzer prize winning book, and often when books when awards you read them and wonder what you are missing that this book won an award. Not the case with this one! Frederick Douglass is a fascinating Black leader, and the author obviously spent a great deal of time researching his subject matter to write this tome that is over 900 pages long. I read the book on Kindle, and now I want to go purchase the book so that I can keep reading it over a period of time. You can only it in parts because of the length, but there are many memorable qu0tes and the story couldn't be more interesting and relevant. ( )
  kerryp | Jul 4, 2020 |
Regrettably, the author read this audio of the great Dougalass the great orator. Blight has a weak voice, so it made for a miserable audio read. ( )
  dimajazz | May 19, 2020 |
This one had a ton of details, but I'm not sure it ever really pulled them together into a fully coherent narrative. The book quotes liberally from Douglass' writings and speeches, but sometimes fails to use those quotes as a jumping off point for deeper exploration of the man's thoughts and feelings about a particular moment in history. I also docked a few points for the multiple references to Republicans co-opting Douglass's rhetoric in the modern era. I'm all for an exploration of the man's legacy and how it echoes to today...but this was a bit too partisan for my taste. ( )
  Jthierer | Apr 6, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Blight, David W.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Onayemi, PrenticeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
There is a prophet within us, forever whispering that behind the seen lies the immeasurable unseen.
 - Frederick Douglass, 1862
Dedication
To Walter O. Evans and Linda J. Evans and
to Jeffrey Brown Ferguson, 1964-2018
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(Introduction) In his speech at the dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, September 24, 2016, President Barack Obama delivered what he termed a "clear-eyed view" of a tragic and triumphant history of black Americans in the United States.
Throughout the spring morning of April 14, 1876, a huge crowd, largely African American, began to assemble in the vicinity of Seventh and Kevin Streets in Washington, DC.
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