A new edition of the classic African American autobiography, now with with the inclusion of Douglass’s other works.
The pre-eminent American slave narrative published in 1845, the Narrative powerfully details the life of the abolitionist Frederick Douglass from his birth into slavery in 1818 to his escape to the North in 1838: how he endured the daily physical and spiritual brutalities of his owners and drivers, how he learned to read and write, and how he grew into a man who could only live free or die.
Also included in this edition are Douglass’s famous oration The Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro and his only known work of fiction, the novella The Heroic Slave.
Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born into slavery in 1818 in Tuckahoe, Maryland. He changed his surname to Douglass to conceal his identity after escaping slavery in 1838 and making his way to Philadelphia and New York. Having been taught to read by the wife of one of his former owners, Douglass wrote later that literacy was his ‘pathway from slavery to freedom’, and in 1845 he published his instantly bestselling Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Renowned as the foremost African American advocate against slavery and segregation of his time, he repeatedly risked his own freedom as an antislavery lecturer, writer and publisher. He died in Washington, D.C., in 1895, and after lying in state in the nation’s capital, was buried in the Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York.
Ira Dworkin is Associate Director of the Prince Alwaleed Center for American Studies and Research and Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at The American University in Cairo.