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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Published by Forefront Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



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About The Book

Families trapped in poverty and systemic injustices. Children denied civil rights because of race. A nation with immense potential for freedom spiraling into prejudice, violence, and hate.

The country Frederick Douglass knew over one-hundred years ago is strikingly similar to the one we live in today. The truth, lessons, and hope he offered during his remarkable lifetime not only helped shape Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and the American Civil Rights movement, they can guide and inspire us in our own cultural moment.

Born into slavery in 1818, Douglass escaped to New York City at the age of twenty, determined to tell his story and fight for the rights of all men and women to be free. His first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, remains one of the most influential books of modern times, as captivating and stirring now as it was when it was first published in 1845.

This new edition of Douglass’s world-changing work includes intimate reflections from modern-day leaders, a foreword and photograph section from Douglass’s direct descendants, and a timeline beginning in 1619 with an emphasis on Douglass’s life and family.

?Whether you are interested in the history of the abolitionist movement and the Civil War, committed to the cause of abolishing modern-day slavery, or need renewed vigor to fight for human rights today, this timeless book will equip and inspire you to follow your passions, knowing that even against all odds, one person can change the world.

About The Author

Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland sometime in 1818. He was birthed by an enslaved woman and was the property of a white man. It was presumed his enslaver was his father, although he never knew for sure. He changed his name to Douglass after escaping his bondage at twenty to elude re-enslavement. 

Following his self-emancipation in 1838, Frederick Douglass became one of the most celebrated intellectuals of his time and one of the foremost leaders of the abolitionist movement in the decades before the Civil War. He advised presidents and spoke worldwide on various human rights issues. Douglass gained notoriety for his brilliant oratory and incisive antislavery writings. He was a best-selling author, a journalist, and the first African American to hold a high U.S. government rank as Minister Resident and Consul General to the Republic of Haiti. 

Douglass served as an adviser to President Abraham Lincoln throughout the Civil War. He provided a powerful voice for enslaved people and the women's suffrage movement in the 19th Century. During the Reconstruction era (1865-1877), Douglass fought for the adoption of the constitutional amendments that guaranteed voting rights and other civil liberties for Black people. He is still revered today for his work fighting against racial injustice and has been called the father of the civil rights movement. 

Douglass won world fame when his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, was published in 1845. His autobiography became an instant bestseller and, having escaped slavery just seven years earlier, put his life in immediate danger. Narrative helped change the course of the U.S. Abolitionist Movement in the 19th Century and has inspired and changed readers' lives for more than 175 years. In 2012, the Library of Congress named Narrative one of the 88 Books That Shaped America.

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Raves and Reviews

“Here, finally, is the edition of Frederick Douglass’ Narrative that Douglass would have wanted: beautifully designed, with a poignant foreword by his direct descendent Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., and a magisterial introduction by Bryan Stevenson that connects our world with Douglass’.”

– John Stauffer, Kates professor of English and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, author of The Black Hearts of Men and co-author of Picturing Frederick Douglass

“Frederick Douglass has affected the lives of Americans and people all over the world since he walked the earth. His timeless message is one that we really need right now in our country.”

– Laurence Fishburne, American actor, producer, and director, three-time Emmy Award and Tony Award winner

“This special Douglass Family Edition dedicated to the legacy and spirit of Anna Murray and Frederick Douglass is a human rights manifesto, declaration of liberation, and rallying call to all of us to transform our lives and become agents of change.”

– Celeste-Marie Bernier, personal chair in United States and Atlantic Studies at the University of Edinburgh, Douglass Family scholar, historian, and consultant, author of Douglass Family Lives books one through seven

“Douglass knew that the greatest gift he gave his country was his story.”

– David W. Blight, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

“Young people, all people, should know that empowerment first comes from within. That is why Douglass’ Narrative remains important.”

– Ibram X. Kendi, director of Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, #1 New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award winner

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is essential reading for all those who care about the quest for freedom and justice in America. It’s admonition to engage in relentless, courageous struggle for basic human rights and dignity is as necessary today as when it was first published in 1845.”

– Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

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