A Life in Documents
Frederick Douglass. Edited by L. Diane Barnes
Frederick Douglass was born enslaved in February 1818, but from this most humble of beginnings, he rose to become a world-famous orator, newspaper editor, and champion of the rights of women and African Americans. He not only survived slavery to live in freedom but also became an outspoken critic of the institution and an active participant in the U.S. political system. Douglass advised presidents of the United States and formally represented his country in the diplomatic corps. He was the most prominent African American activist of the nineteenth century, and he left a treasure trove of documentary evidence detailing his life in slavery and achievements in freedom. This volume gathers and interprets valuable selections from a variety of Douglass’s writings, including speeches, editorials, correspondence, and autobiographies.
Frederick Douglass is one of the preeminent nonfiction writers of the nineteenth century, and Diane Barnes's collection uniquely illuminates his life and times. Beautifully organized and edited, it is an important, much-needed contribution.
Lightly illustrated and thoughtfully indexed, the volume also provides a useful chronology. The well-written introduction gives readers the requisite context for approachng the study of Douglass's life, and introduces the structure of the work itself by connecting the narrative to the book's sections.
L. Diane Barnes, Associate Editor of the Frederick Douglass Papers and Professor of History at Youngstown State University, is the author of Frederick Douglass: Reformer and Statesman.