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Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings (The Library of Black America series) Paperback – April 1, 2000

4.8 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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  • Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings (The Library of Black America series)
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  • Frederick Douglass : Autobiographies : Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave / My Bondage and My Freedom / Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (Library of America)
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Taylor (I Was Born a Slave: An Anthology of Classic Slave Narratives), an editor at Lawrence Hill, serves readers and libraries well by adapting and abridging Foner's acclaimed The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass, Vols. 1-5 (International Publishers, 1950-1975). As the text shows, Douglass's language, intellect, and humanity create a compelling narrative of 19th-century America. On display here are his ideas about abolitionism, feminism, electoral politics, and peace, as well as family, religion, literature, and economics. Although Taylor does not always provide thorough citations, this much of Douglass's work is not available elsewhere in such an affordable volume. Recommended for public and academic libraries.ASherri Barnes, Ventura, CA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“[This collection] puts all America under deep obligation. . . . The figure of a great man rises from [this volume].” —W. E. B. Du Bois, author, The Souls of Black Folk


“An outstanding contribution to the social history of the Negro in the United States.” —E. Franklin Frazier, author, Black Bourgeoisie

“[An] evident outcome of great labor and love, [this book] is a monumental piece of historical scholarship, contributing as much to vital aspects of American history as to the documentary portraiture of the nineteenth century’s greatest American Negro.” —Alain Locke, editor of The New Negro


“A veritable treasure house of historical information.” —Benjamin Quarles, author of The Negro in the American Revolution and Frederick Douglass
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Product Details

  • Series: The Library of Black America series
  • Paperback: 808 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; 1 edition (April 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556523521
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556523526
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #297,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Frederick Douglass (1818?-1895) was the greatest African American leader of the Nineteenth Century. He was born a slave on the Eastern Shore in Maryland and grew up on plantations on the Eastern Shore with several years in Baltimore. He was a physically powerful, highly intelligent, and spirited youth and developed quickly a hatred of the slave system. As a slave, he taught himself to read and write, and learned the art of public speaking from the church and from a book of orations popular at the time that feel into his hands. He escaped from slavery at the age of 20 and moved to New Bedford,Massachusetts. He became part of the Abolitionist Movement and achieved fame as a public speaker. He became a newspaper editor and writer. During the Civil War, he assisted in the recuritment of black troops. He met President Lincoln on several occasions and became a great admirer. In later years, Douglass was aligned with the conservative "stalwart" wing of the Republican party and continued to speak out for the rights of African-Americans, to oppose (somewhat belatedly) the end of Reconstruction, and to work for the life of the spirit and the mind.
Frederick Douglass wrote three autobiographies which are given in this volume. The first, shortest, and best was written in 1845, seven years after Douglass had escaped from slavery. It tells in graphic and unforgettable terms the story of Douglass' life as a slave, the growth of the spirit of freedom in himself. and the early part of his life as a free man in New Bedford.
The second autobiography was written in 1855. It repeats much of the earlier story and describes Douglass's visit to Great Britain.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
President Lincoln regarded Douglass as "one of the most meritorious men, if not the most meritorious man, in the United States". Douglass thought it gossly unfair that black Union troops were getting paid less than whites. He went to the White House and managed to meet Lincoln in private to present his argument. Lincoln agreed and told Douglass that he would sign any executive order and any other documents necessary to assure that it would be done. They became friends and, to my knowledge, he was the first black man to be invited to the White House for a social engagement. He attended the evening celebration at the White House followng Lincoln's second inaugural.

Douglass spent his first 20 years of life as a slave and was totally self-educated. He purchased his freedom (with some financial assistace) and wrote two best selling autobiographies before the age of 20. Thereafter, etited his own newspaper and gave brilliant orations in the days when great orators were famous.

Douglass's home overlooking Washington is now an historic landmark open to the public. As an old man he sat in his rocker on the front porch and greeted an endless string of young black men asking him how they could further the civil rights movement. His only advice was to "agitate", "agitate" and "agitate".

As a kid I recollect walking around with an "I Like Ike" sign. Winston Churchill was around then and was occasionally interviewd. Eleanor Roosevent was a driving force in Adlai Sevenson's presidential campaign. We kids thought her voice was very strange. The only name for niggers was niggers, who lagged closely behind Jews and Catholics in the society from which I came.

It's amazingly wonderful how much society has changed during my own lifetime. Diversity is America.
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Format: Hardcover
Two reasons might put one off from reading Frederick Douglass's autobiographies: (1)Douglass's life was so admirable and heroic that they are likely to contain more virtue than interest; and (2) there are so doggone many of them (after all, "autobiographies" ?! three of them?!). Don't let this happen. First, Douglass is a very good writer -- he's funny, he's earthy, he's smart, and his attitudes are surprisingly contemporary. It's almost as if your Democratic neighbor (although Douglass was a stalwart Republican -- those were the days) were to visit 19th century America and report back on what he saw. Second, reading his autobiographies seriatim allows you to see Douglass's life as he lived it: one sees how his own views of his past changed over time, and one comes to appreciate the unbelievably dramatic developments contained in the later autobiographies(I don't want to give them away). That said, three (count 'em 3!) autobiographies are a little much and, in retrospect, I would skip the second one, but do not, under any circumstances, skip the third one. Finally, the notes to the Library of America editions are really, really, really unhelpful. There aren't enough of them, and so the reader has no idea of the significance of some of the events Douglass refers to. Bottom line: Buy it used. Read it now.
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Format: Hardcover
Once you read Douglass's narrative, you will be surprised that Douglass learned enough to be able to write the first narrative written by an uneducated slave. This is one of the most moving narratives you can read -- I challenge any reader to read this and not understand the irony of the white people supressing black people's accomplishments for hundreds of years. The story of Fredrick Douglas in inspiring on many different levels. Once you read it, any reader will understand why this is mandatory reading in any American literature course. It is impossible to understand life after the Civil War without reading this moving, touching novel about how a slave learned how to read and write. Douglass's autobiography is a great literary achievement which should be savored by all who read it both as a historical and literary document.
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