Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (Great Classics #37)
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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is an 1845 memoir and treatise on abolition written by famous orator and former slave Frederick Douglass. It is generally held to be the most famous of a number of narratives written by former slaves during the same period.
In factual detail, the text describes the events of his life and 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.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass encompasses eleven chapters that recount Douglass's life as a slave and his ambition to become a free man.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass was published on May 1, 1845, and within four months of this publication, five thousand copies were sold. By 1860, almost 30,000 copies were sold.
After publication, he sailed to England and Ireland for two years in fear of being recaptured by his owner in the United States. While in Britain and Ireland, he gained supporters who paid $710.96 to purchase his emancipation from his legal owner.
One of the more significant reasons Douglass published his Narrative was to offset the demeaning manner in which white people viewed him. When he spoke in public, his white abolitionist associates established limits to what he could say on the platform. More specifically, they did not want him to analyze the current slavery issues or to shape the future for black people.
However, once Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass was published, he was given the liberty to begin more ambitious work on the issue rather than giving the same speeches repetitively. Because of the work in his Narrative, Douglass gained significant credibility from those who previously did not believe the story of his past.
While in Ireland the Dublin edition of the book was published by the abolitionist printer Richard D. Webb to great acclaim and Douglass would write extensively in later editions very positively about his experience in Ireland. His newfound liberty on the platform eventually led him to start a black newspaper against the advice of his "fellow" abolitionists.
The publication of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass opened several doors, not only for Douglass's ambitious work, but also for the anti-slavery movement of that time.
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Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 9781539022794, 86pp.
Publication Date: September 21, 2016