From the front Cover
Born a slave in Maryland circa 1817, Frederick Douglass went on to become the most influential and distinguished African American of the nineteenth century. As an abolitionist, newspaper publisher, orator and statesman, Douglass dedicated his life to the triumph of freedom over oppression for all black Americans. Published shortly after his escape from slavery, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave became an immediate bestseller in 1845 and is still the most widely read slave narrative in American history. A piercing denounciation of slavery, the Narrative mobilized masses of people for the abolitionist cause. But the Narrative is also a deeply personal memoir in which Douglass chronicles his childhood years of deprivation and brutality, his efforts to teach himself to read (teaching a slave to read was illegal in the South), and his dangerous fligth to freedom in 1838. In his insightful introduction, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. celebrates the 150th anniversary of the book's publication and offers a fresh perspective on what the Narrative means today. The comprehensive bibliography lists the body of literature devoted to Douglass's life and writings. Already a staple for many courses in American literature and history, this edition is enhanced by Professor Gates's introduction and bibliography, and will be a must have for all readers of American literature.