by Frederick Douglass
This Modern Library Paperback Classics edition combines the two most important African American slave narratives into one volume.
Frederick Douglass's Narrative, first published in 1845, is an enlightening and incendiary text. Born into slavery, Douglass became the preeminent spokesman for his people during his life; his narrative is an unparalleled account of the dehumanizing effects of slavery and Douglass's own triumph over it. Like Douglass, Harriet Jacobs was born into slavery, and in 1861 she published Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, now recognized as the most comprehensive antebellum slave narrative written by a woman. Jacobs's account broke the silence on the exploitation of African American female slaves, and it remains crucial reading. These narratives illuminate and inform each other. This edition includes an incisive Introduction by Kwame Anthony Appiah and extensive annotations.
High School and Adult
Frederick Douglass, born around1817, was the son of an African-American woman and a white slaveholder. Brilliant and brave, Douglass once led a minor insurrection against his masters but unlike the famous Nat Turner, Douglass escaped his venture alive. While still a young man he fled, hungry and hunted, to the North, where he was befriended by abolitionists. His dramatic autobiography was published in 1845, creating a sensation and spurring Douglass s career as a militant, uncompromising leader of African-Americans. He recruited African-American volunteers for the Civil War and later secured and protected the rights of the freemen. Douglass later became secretary of the Santo Domingo Commission, Recorder of Deeds in the District of Columbia, and United States Minister to Haiti. He died in 1895.
Peter J. Gomes was the minister at Memorial Church at Harvard University from 1974 until his death in 2011. Among his many books are "The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart" and "Strength for the Journey: Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living."
Gregory Stephens is Lecturer of Cultural Studies and Film in the Department of Literature in English, University of West Indies Mona. He is the author of "On Racial Frontiers: The New Culture of Frederick Douglass, Ralph Ellison, and Bob Marley. "Previously he was an award-winning songwriter and journalist in Austin and Laredo, Texas, as well as a bilingual public school teacher (Spanish/English). He lives in Kingston, Jamaica."