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"Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass" is a memoir on abolition written by Frederick Douglass. It is held to be the most famous of a number of narratives written by former slaves during the 19th century. 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. Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writings.
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"The Slaves" is nothing but Frederick Douglass's groundbreaking autobiography and his first book "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, written by Himself". We have renamed the title here as "The Slaves" to keep the title short as well as to establish that Frederick Douglass is no longer a name of a particular slave born in nineteenth-century America, but a name that represents slaves of the entire world and of all time. Even though, we do not wish anyone to be born into slavery anymore like Frederick was, we have taken him as a symbol of all the slaves as a wish that all who are still in slavery may have the spirit of Frederick Douglass and fight their ways to the freedom and work to free other slaves to make the slavery history. The life of Frederick, is in one way or another, is the lives of all other slaves. Hence, we have named this version of his book "The Slaves".
In one volume there are seven slave narratives, compelling, harrowing at times and beautiful stories of hope in the midst of deep adversity. 1. Narrative of the Life Of Frederick Douglass An American Slave. Frederick Douglass's eloquently written first autobiography was one of the most persuasive forces for emancipation, as well as for the enlistment of black soldiers in the Union army. It is written beautifully and the story flies past - a dazzling and awful account of slavery. 2. My Bondage and My Freedom. This is Frederick Douglass's second autobiography written ten years after his emancipation and is unparalleled in its scope of the destructive effects of slavery on both individuals and communities. The power of this book is that it delves into the minds of rational "good" people who were slave owners, and discusses the economic conditions that sanctioned slavery's continued existence. 3. Twelve Years A Slave. This narrative was written by Solomon Northrup, a freeman kidnapped from the North, and taken to a work on a plantation in Louisiana, where he lived for 12 years until he was rescued. Violence, sadness, grief, and the treatment of human beings as lower than animals are the themes that run through this famous autobiography, 4. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Olaudah Equiano's interesting story provides an insight into a time and situation that few people survived to record or recall, and those that did survive were rarely literate. For this reason, and so many others, Equiano (or Gustavus Vassa as he was later christened) has a unique story to tell. It is an honest and chilling account of a man born free in Africa and sold into slavery, who spends most of life on the high seas until he finally acquires freedom. He relates the experiences of black people in its myriad forms on three continents. 5. Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl, Seven Years Concealed. In the pre-civil war period of 1861, Harriet Jacobs was the only black woman in the United States to have authored her own slave narrative, in a call to "arouse the women of the North to a realizing sense of the condition of two millions of women at the South...to convince the people of the Free States what slavery really is." Jacobs hoped that, should the white women of the North know the true conditions of the slave women of the South, they would not fail to answer the call to moral action. With the help of a northern abolitionist, Jacobs published this astounding, poignant record under the pseudonym Linda Brent. 6. Up From Slavery: An Autobiography. Booker T. Washington writes his story modestly but his greatness shines through. He spent his early childhood as a slave on a plantation in the south, but after the Emancipation Proclamation was read from the porch steps of the "Big House," his ambitions to gain an education and make something of himself propelled him through every obstacle to his goal. Booker T. Washington was a tireless promoter of education for his race and founded a school for blacks in Alabama. He made great strides in elevating the sights and prospects of his people. 7. Running A Thousand Miles for Freedom. This is a great story of a married couple who were slaves and escaped to freedom in a unique way. It is a horrifying account of the evil of slavery and the hope of freedom and human rights. A compelling read.
"Adler, a prolific children's book author, has done a good job describing the trajectory of Douglass's life as he moved from being a slave himself to being a freer of slaves and a tireless civil rights activist. Narrator Charles Turner, who has a deep and resonant voice, uses just the right matter-of-fact yet serious tones that won't overwhelm young listeners but will make an impression on them." -AudioFile
"Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" was one of the first books to address the struggle for freedom by female slaves; explore their struggles with sexual harassment and abuse; and their effort to protect their roles as women and mothers. After being overshadowed by the Civil War, the novel was rediscovered in the late 20th century and since then hasn't been out of print ever. It is one of the seminal books written on the theme of slavery from a woman's point of view and appreciated worldwide academically as well. Excerpt: "Reader be assured this narrative is no fiction. I am aware that some of my adventures may seem incredible; but they are, nevertheless, strictly true. I have not exaggerated the wrongs inflicted by Slavery; on the contrary, my descriptions fall far short of the facts. I have concealed the names of places, and given persons fictitious names. I had no motive for secrecy on my own account, but I deemed it kind and considerate towards others to pursue this course...." Harriet Jacobs (1813–1897) was an African-American writer who was formerly a fugitive slave. To save her family and her own identity from being found out, she used the pseudonym of Linda Brent and wrote secretly during the night.