Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, Written by Himself [NOOK Book]

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Frederick Douglass’s powerful autobiographical account of life in bondage, his ...
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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, Written by Himself

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Overview

Enriched Classics offer readers accessible editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and commentary. Each book includes educational tools alongside the text, enabling students and readers alike to gain a deeper and more developed understanding of the writer and their work.

Frederick Douglass’s powerful autobiographical account of life in bondage, his triumphant escape to freedom, and his analysis of slavery as a condition.

Enriched Classics enhance your engagement by introducing and explaining the historical and cultural significance of the work, the author’s personal history, and what impact this book had on subsequent scholarship. Each book includes discussion questions that help clarify and reinforce major themes and reading recommendations for further research.

Read with confidence.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451686036
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 8/1/2013
  • Series: Enriched Classics
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 52,461
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Robert B. Stepto is Professor of English, African American Studies, and American Studies at Yale University. He is the author of From Behind the Veil: A Study of Afro-American Narrative.

Biography

Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born a slave in Tuckahoe, Maryland, in February 1818. He became a leading abolitionist and women's rights advocate and one of the most influential public speakers and writers of the nineteenth century.

Frederick's mother, Harriet Bailey, was a slave; his father was rumored to be Aaron Anthony, manager for the large Lloyd plantation in St. Michaels, Maryland, and his mother's master. Frederick lived away from the plantation with his grandparents, Isaac and Betsey Bailey, until he was six years old, when he was sent to work for Anthony.

When Frederick was eight, he was sent to Baltimore as a houseboy for Hugh Auld, a shipbuilder related to the Anthony family through marriage. Auld's wife, Sophia, began teaching Frederick to read, but Auld, who believed that a literate slave was a dangerous slave, stopped the lessons. From that point on, Frederick viewed education and knowledge as a path to freedom. He continued teaching himself to read; in 1831 he bought a copy of The Columbian Orator, an anthology of great speeches, which he studied closely.

In 1833 Frederick was sent from Auld's relatively peaceful home back to St. Michaels to work in the fields. He was soon hired out to Edward Covey, a notorious "slave-breaker" who beat him brutally in an effort to crush his will. However, on an August afternoon in 1934, Frederick stood up to Covey and beat him in a fight. This was a turning point, Douglass has said, in his life as a slave; the experience reawakened his desire and drive for liberty.

In 1838 Frederick Bailey escaped from slavery by using the papers of a free seaman. He traveled north to New York City, where Anna Murray soon joined him. Later that year, Frederick and Anna married and moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts. Though settled in the North, Frederick was a fugitive, technically still Auld's property. To protect himself, he became Frederick Douglass, a name inspired by a character in Sir Walter Scott's poem Lady of the Lake.

Douglass began speaking against slavery at abolitionist meetings and soon gained a reputation as a brilliant orator. In 1841 he began working full-time as an abolitionist lecturer, touring with one of the leading activists of the day, William Lloyd Garrison.

Douglass published his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, in 1845. The book became an immediate sensation and was widely read both in America and abroad. Its publication, however, jeopardized his freedom by exposing his true identity. To avoid capture as a fugitive slave, Douglass spent the next several years touring and speaking in England and Ireland. In 1846, two friends purchased his freedom. Douglass returned to America, an internationally renowned abolitionist and orator.

Douglass addressed the first Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848. This began his long association with the women's rights movement, including friendships with such well-known suffragists as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

During the mid-1840s Douglass began to break ideologically from William Lloyd Garrison. Whereas Garrison's abolitionist sentiments were based in moral exhortation, Douglass was coming to believe that change would occur through political means. He became increasingly involved in antislavery politics with the Liberty and Free-Soil Parties. In 1847 Douglass established and edited the politically oriented, antislavery newspaper the North Star.

During the Civil War, President Lincoln called upon Douglass to advise him on emancipation issues. In addition, Douglass worked hard to secure the rights of blacks to enlist; when the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers was established as the first black regiment, he traveled throughout the North recruiting volunteers. Mo< Douglass's governmental involvement extended far beyond Lincoln's tenure. He was consulted by the next five presidents and served as secretary of the Santo Domingo Commission (1871), marshal of the District of Columbia (1877-1881), recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia (1881-1886), and minister to Haiti (1889-1891). A year before his death Douglass delivered an important speech, "The Lessons of the Hour," a denunciation of lynchings in the United States.

On February 20, 1896, Frederick Douglass died of a heart attack. His death triggered an outpouring of grief and mourning; black schools in Washington, D.C. closed for a day, and thousands of children were taken to the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church to view his open casket. In his third autobiography, Douglass succinctly and aptly summarized his life; writing that he had "lived several lives in one: first, the life of slavery; secondly, the life of a fugitive from slavery; thirdly, the life of comparative freedom; fourthly, the life of conflict and battle; and fifthly, the life of victory, if not complete, at least assured."

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.

Good To Know

Douglass's mother Harriet referred to Frederick as her "little Valentine," so he unofficially adopted February 14th as his birthday.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey (birth name)
    2. Hometown:
      Tuckahoe, Maryland
    1. Date of Birth:
      1818
    1. Date of Death:
      February 20, 1895
    2. Place of Death:
      Washington, D.C.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Frederick Douglass Writes His Story by Robert B. Stepto
  • Note on the Text
  • Chronology of Frederick Douglass’s Life
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
    • Preface by William Lloyd Garrison (May 1, 1845)
    • Letter from Wendell Phillips, Esq. (April 22, 1845)
    • Chapters 1–11
    • Appendix (April 28, 1845)


  • Selected Bibliography

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 81 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(33)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(15)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(11)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 81 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 27, 2010

    A Must Read

    Over the years many times I have heard reference to this book but had never read it. I picked it up out of curiosity and to be honest because it was on the bargain table, but this small book of the slave story and later writings, speeches and lectures of Mr. Frederick Douglass are a real treasure and a must read. His words and life cut to the heart as you hear him tell what he experienced as a man held in bondage.
    The terror, fear and brutal cruelty of the times and the daily suffering of slaves, men, women and children,is sad,unbelievable, but true.
    It also sheds a light on the attitudes and thinking of slave owners.
    Learning to read was the spark in young Frederick that set him on his long and hard path to freedom.I found it interesting to read about the different people and chance encounters that brought him to a free state and eventually to be able to speak so strongly and beautifully against slavery as an evil against God and against our fellow human beings.
    This narritive is a powerful and thought provoking read.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2014

    Tell me

    Tell me if this is a good school report.
    Ello! Im kanaja. I belive by what misstress told me i am 16. I was born i te didder plantation. My job on the plantation is being a nanny.but one day i heard a song it was"when that old charriot comes im gonna leave you.when that old charriot comes friends whos coming with me?"i started to cry but then i said when that old charriot comes i going with you. Then we ssid we were going to escape when it was stormy.see you in my next post;)

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2014

    Review

    When i was assigned to read this for history my first thought was: ughh this is gonna make me fall asleep like the other books i have been forced to read BUT this actually turned out to be a good book I was appalled by the abuse that Frederick Doughlass had to go through as a slave and it is very interesting how he vividly remembers his time in bondage If you ever have the urge to read a book about the harsh realities of slavery, definately read this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    very informative for school report

    Well written, and informative--I give this book a thumbs up.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2008

    Great Book

    This is a jaw dropping stpry that displays a great picture in your head. I thought that Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass was a very informational book. It showed how rough it was in the 1800¿s. Frederick Douglass struggled through watching and receiving many beatings. His masters were treating him awful and he couldn¿t do much to anything about it. As the story goes on Frederick Douglass gets sent around to differnt farms to work. At all of the farms he encounters at least one enemy. Overall ths stroy is full of infomation and is very powerful

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2007

    A reviewer

    Reading sections of Douglass' narrative gave me chills and made me think about the way African Americans were treated by white masters. This book gave me ideas of the hardships the African Americans faced when shipped from town to town and master to master. The words in Douglass' speech at the anti-slavery convention show his intelligence and views of being an Abolitionist. I recommend this book to any person willing or wanting to learn about slavery of African Americans in the 19th century.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2005

    Very inspiring!

    Part of my reading curriculum for my Oral Communications class, I loved it so much I had everyone in my family read it!!! Definitely recommend to those looking for a good book on slaves and slavery.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2004

    MDC Virtual College Student, June 7, 2004

    I gained personal inspiration from reading the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave. There were many things that I already knew about American slavery, but Douglass' details were very intense and helped bring my understanding of the whole cruel era to a new height. It was the idea of being free that helped drive him to gain his own personal freedom. After reading this story, I felt a need to excel and strive for more in my own life. Not things, because things do not make a man, but the spirit of man is what is important. Douglass' spirit led him to be a great thinker, speaker, writer, leader, and his spirit empowered him as a human being. He escaped the bondage of slavery through his strength and endurance over many, many hardships. I highly recommend this book for reading. It tells of a history that is extraordinary, and one that must never be forgotten.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2004

    The Life of a Slave

    This book is amazing. Every African American should read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2003

    Excellent Period Read!

    This book was enlightening as well as moving. To read an account of slavery from the mind of a former slave gives great insight as to the true brutality of the institution of slavery. Mr. Douglass was an amazingly well educated man by his own will and persistance. His personal narrative is very eloquently written and easily understood.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2003

    GUT WRENCHING

    While I'd heard of the book and passed it by many times in the book store I'd never gotten around to reading it. Douglass coveys the barbarity and savagery that is slavery in such a way that, that I cannot fully convey. To know that these unspeakable acts actually took place in a land that espoused freedom and liberty made me want to be sick. I¿ve read about the treatment of slaves in many history texts and I¿ve found that Douglass¿ personal account relays such raw emotion that the reader cannot help but be pulled in. The fact that the story is in the first person makes this book the best way of learning about the true nature of slavery, not a ¿cut and dry¿ matter like most text books. I was immersed in the life of this man. If it¿s not required reading, it should be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2003

    AN INTENSE " MUST READ " BOOK

    I highly recommend this superbly written book to everyone. I am certain this book will touch the heart of all those who read it. The majority of the people have developed their concept of what slavery entailed through what they learned in history books. However, this book provides the facts behind the suffering and torment of the African Americans. As such, this book provides a detailed behind-the-scene re-inactment of the cruel and immoral actions exhibited by ignorant white people. Yet, it will demonstrate how determination and perseverance can overcome all obstacles. Finally, this book will transport you to the 19th century where you will love, hate, and cry through the eyes of Frederick Douglas.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2003

    Johnst - African American Literature online student

    This book was exceptional to read. Frederick Douglas's writings captured in great detail his life as a slave. The book was very well written. Although he was self taught, this educated man, took your attention. At times I thought I was there. This book was a great insight on the life of a slave.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2001

    Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave: Written by Himself

    not for high school students... for all humans with legs

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2001

    Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave: Written by Himself

    i read this book. I found it to be.. well, words cant describe some of my emotions. It was sad, Shocking, Harrowing- and some parts tender and even slightly funny. The man is a legend. A Legend...make no mistake! No Mistake. I am white and scottish... but his humaneness...i feel in me. After all.. we are all 1 .

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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