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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845)

by Frederick Douglass

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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7,969112883 (4)160
A dramatic autobiography of the great 19th century black leader and abolitionist.
  1. 10
    Autobiography of Josiah Henson: An Inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom by Josiah Henson (HistReader)
    HistReader: Both men discuss their treatment and lifestyle under subjection as slaves.
  2. 10
    The Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano (jordantaylor)
  3. 01
    To Be a Slave by Julius Lester (jacqueline065)
    jacqueline065: If your enjoyed the poignant narrative of Frederick Douglass, you will be moved by the perserved accounts of slave life in this book.
  4. 01
    The Mind of Frederick Douglass by Waldo E. Jr. Martin (eromsted)

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English (105)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Norwegian (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (111)
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Born a slave, Frederick Douglas devoted his life to the Freeing of Slaves
from the endless horrors of whippings, tortures, hatred, rapes, massacres,
and barbaric cruelty.

He fought for the right of Black men to fight in the Union Army, then for equal pay.

He stood up for Women's Rights and the Right for All to vote.

With help from Abolitionist friends, he was able to fully escape slavery and to buy his freedom. ( )
  m.belljackson | Jun 24, 2022 |
As if I would have the chutzpah to review Frederick Douglass. Instead, I'll share the paragraph that struck me most and still has relevance for 21st-century America:

"I assert most unhesitatingly, that the religion of the south is a mere covering for the most horrid crimes,--a justifier of the most appalling barbarity,--a sanctifier of the most hateful frauds,--and a dark shelter under which the darkest, foulest, grossest, and most infernal deeds of slaveholders find the strongest protection. . . . For of all slaveholders with whom I have ever met, religious slaveholders are the worst. I have ever found them the meanest and basest, the most cruel and cowardly, of all others" (79)

Lest readers think Douglass is opposed to all religion, in the Appendix, he contrasts the religiosity he suffered under in the south with the "pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ" that he found in the north. In citing these sections, I certainly don't mean to imply "south bad/north good." These days, the religion of the "south" is everywhere and it's used to justify offenses against humanity that are only fractionally less repugnant than slavery itself. ( )
  IVLeafClover | Jun 21, 2022 |
Frederick Douglass was a slave in Talbot county, Maryland living in the area of St. Michael's and Baltimore. While living in Baltimore his masters wife taught him the alphabet and started to teach him how to read. When her husband found out he put a stop to it. It was too late Frederick had acquired a love of reading and a lifelong quest for knowledge. Eventually he ran away to the north where he was able to begin a life as a free man. ( )
  MrDickie | Mar 6, 2022 |
Within a few years of escaping to the north, Frederick Douglass had gained enough renown by his speeches and other work in support of abolition that he consented to the request that he write a memoir of his life as a slave. The result remains compelling reading. The tone is that of adamant condemnation of the institution, made all the more credible by seeming, if anything, understated.
The book opens with a preface by famed abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, who writes: “Mr. Douglass has very properly chosen to write his own Narrative, in his own style, and according to the best of his ability, rather than to employ someone else.” The condescension I heard in these words as I read them was confirmed when I reached the narrative itself. Douglass’s prose in its directness has aged better than Garrison’s rhetorical flourishes.
Another peculiarity of the book is its appendix, in which Douglass is at pains to make clear that his condemnation of Christianity in the narrative was aimed at the hypocritical manner of its practice by slaveowners, not the religion itself: “Between the Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognise the widest possible difference—so wide, that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked.” I feel he had made this distinction clear in the main text, but apparently those who helped it to publication felt otherwise.
Just as the Holocaust in the 20th century must never be forgotten, neither can we permit the memory of slavery in the United States to fade. This book is essential. ( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
It’s a lot less romantic than “Twelve Years A Slave”, which is a good thing for a slave narrative; no slave narrative is romantic in the Jane Austen Getaway sense, obviously, but “Twelve Years A Slave” has that David Copperfield Recalls His Painful Youth thing—O my sadness! O troublesome times! O departed joy!…. He’s that type, you know, the Negro musician; Frederick Douglass is the other type: the Negro intellectual, Here’s how they were trying to control me! They wouldn’t let me think! The white man didn’t tell me about the books! But oh, they had us get drunk on Christmas, so we would spend all our strength on philandering and feel shame after, and give up, and work. Northup: Oh, but don’t you see, even the slaves had Christmas! Douglass: Don’t be a fool; it wasn’t their conscience—it was a trap. Northup: Oh, but how we danced! Douglass: You’re STILL a slave, dammit!
  goosecap | Jul 18, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (144 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Frederick Douglassprimary authorall editionscalculated
Andrews, William L.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baker, Houston A., Jr.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blight, David W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dworkin, IraEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gomes, Peter J.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Meally, Robert G.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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I was born in Tuckahoe, near Hillsborough, and about twelve miles from Easton, in Talbot country, Maryland.
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A dramatic autobiography of the great 19th century black leader and abolitionist.

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Yale University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300087012, 0300088310

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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Skyhorse Publishing

An edition of this book was published by Skyhorse Publishing.

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Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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