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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself: A New Critical Edition by Angela Y. Davis (City Lights Open Media) Paperback – December 1, 2009
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About the Author
"Just as Douglass was dedicated to abolishing the institution that imprisoned him and his people, Davis is dedicated to abolishing the institution that imprisoned her and still imprisons millions of Americans, mostly people of color: the modern American prison system."H. Bruce Franklin, African American Review
"Davis's work deserves a wide readership She has compiled much useful information not easily obtained elsewhere."Toni Morrison
"Davis' arguments for justice are formidable The power of her historical insights and the sweetness of her dream cannot be denied."
New York Times Book Review
"Long before 'race/gender' became the obligatory injunction it is now, Angela Davis was developing an analytical framework that brought all of these factors into play. For readers who only see Angela Davis as a public icon meet the real Angela Davis: perhaps the leading public intellectual of our era."Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original
"One of America's last truly fearless public intellectuals."Cynthia McKinney, U.S. Democratic Congresswoman
"Angela Davis's revolutionary spirit is still strong. Still with us, thank goodness!"Virginian-Pilot
"There was a time in America when to call a person an 'abolitionist' was the ultimate epithet. It evoked scorn in the North and outrage in the South. Yet they were the harbingers of things to come. They were on the right side of history. Prof. Angela Y. Davis stands in that proud, radical tradition."Mumia Abu-Jamal, author of Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A.
"Behold the heart and mind of Angela Davis, open, relentless, and on time!"June Jordan
"Angela Davis has stood as a courageous voice of conscience on matters of race, class, and gender in America."David Theo Goldberg, Arizona State University
"Angela Davis offers a cartography of engagement in oppositional social movements and unwavering commitment to justice."Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Women's Studies, Hamilton College
"The breadth of Davis's work in the past two decades is an inspiring example of bridge-building across causes and generations. That her contemporary activism can be coupled so flawlessly with Douglass’s historic writings and powerful legacy speaks to the importance of their combined influence spanning centuries. At a time when the freedoms once granted by the Fourteenth Amendment are now being applied to corporate entities, cannabilizing the legacy of freed slaves in the United States, this book Davis’s call for a more engaged electorateis wonderfully timely and deeply engaging."Colorlines
Top Customer Reviews
The book indeed has elements of a disguise and of a novel. Jacobs never uses her real name but calls herself instead "Linda Brent." The other characters in the book are also given pseudonyms. Jacobs tells us in the Preface to the book (signed "Linda Brent") that she changed names in order to protect the privacy of indiduals but that the incidents recounted in the narrative are "no fiction".
Jacobs was born in slave rural North Carolina. As a young girl, she learned to read and write, which was highly rare among slaves. At about the age of 11 she was sent to live as a slave to a doctor who also owned a plantation, called "Dr. Flint" in the book.
Jacobs book describes well the cruelties of the "Peculiar Institution -- in terms of its beatings, floggings, and burnings, overwork, starvation, and dehumanization. It focuses as well upon the selling and wrenching apart of families that resulted from the commodification of people in the slave system. But Jacobs' book is unique in that it describes first-hand the sexual indignities to which women were subjected in slavery. (Other accounts, such as those of Frederick Douglass, were written by men.Read more ›
It is one thing to hear about how slaveholders took liberties with female slaves, it is quite another to read in stark detail about women being commanded to lay down in fields, young girls being seduced and impregnated and their offspring sold to rid the slaveholder of the evidence of his licentiousness. The author talks about jealous white women, enraged by their husbands' behavior, taking it out on the hapless slaves. The white women were seen as ladies, delicate creatures prone to fainting spells and hissy fits whereas the Black women were beasts of burden, objects of lust and contempt simultaneously. Some slave women resisted these lustful swine and were beaten badly because of it. It was quite a conundrum. To be sure, white women suffered under this disgusting system too, though not to the same degree as the female slaves who had no one to protect them and their virtue. Even the notion of a slave having virtue is mocked.Read more ›
Reading Frederick Douglass, however, makes me wonder how anyone with firsthand knowledge of the institution could not see the obvious pain and cruelty which existed right in front of his or her eyes. Douglass's narrative, and particularly his descriptions of the slave trade in Baltimore and the obvious place of the whip (whether used or not) as the principal vehicle of social control argues most eloquently that though the slave system may have been a social norm, the blinders had to be unbelievably thick not to see the horrors that the institution wrought. The relationship of slave and master perpetuated a most un-American (at least in terms of our professed values--cf. Douglass's later antislavery orations) tyranny and oppression. Douglass's narrative testifies that our ancestors could have seen much more and done much more and that 600,000 lives and a subsequent 120 years of racial schism and pain was too much a price to bear for the peculiar institution.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love the book because the person was there an no guessing straight forward great book.Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
Yes it did, it helped me a lot and thank u for your concerns😎Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
Sometimes 19th century writing can be difficult to get through, but this was an easy read. The subject matter is so moving that I'm going to require my two teenagers to read this.Published 7 days ago by Robert Adams
I liked hearing the story of what it was really like living in slavery, especially written by a woman.Published 8 days ago by Nancy Gipson
This book is excellent and authentic to the time period. Once I began to read it I couldn't stopPublished 8 days ago by J. Biggart