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From the Publisher
Born a slave, Frederick Douglass educated himself, escaped, and made himself one of the greatest leaders in American history. His three autobiographical narratives, collected here in one volume, are now recognized as classics of both American history and American literature. Writing with the eloquence and fierce intelligence that made him a brilliantly effective spokesman for abolition and equal rights, Douglass shapes an inspiring vision of self-realization in the face of monumental odds. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, an American Slave (1845), published seven years after his escape, was written in part as a response to skeptics who refused to believe that so articulate an orator could ever have been a slave. A powerfully compressed account of the cruelty and oppression of the Maryland plantation culture into which Douglass was born, it brought him to the forefront of the anti-slavery movement and drew thousands, black and white, to the cause. In My Bondage and My Freedom (1855), written after,he had established himself as a newspaper editor, Douglass expands the account of his slavery years. With astonishing psychological penetration, he probes the painful ambiguities and subtly corrosive effects of black-white relations under slavery; and goes on to account his determined resistance to segregation in the North. The book also incorporates extracts from Douglass' renowned speeches, including the searing "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?" Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, first published in 1881, records Douglass' efforts to keep alive the struggle for racial equality in the years following the Civil War. Now a socially and politically prominent figure, he looksback, with a mixture of pride and bitterness; on the triumphs and humiliations of a unique public career. John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, William Lloyd Garrison, and Harriet Beecher Stowe are all featured prominently in this c