Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave

What do you consider the most valuable thing in life? For Frederick Douglass, it was his freedom.

Frederick Agustus Washington Bailey later known by the name of Frederick Douglass was an American abolitionist, a statesman, and a former slave.

After escaping slavery in Maryland in 1838, Douglass decided to dedicate his life to fight for the emancipation of the black American slaves.

Frederick Douglass was an exemplary orator and writer and during his lifetime he wrote three autobiographies  which include the ‘Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave’, ‘My Bondage and My Freedom’ (1855), and ‘Life and Times of Frederick Douglass’ (1881)

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass was first published in Boston in 1845 and five thousand copies of this book were sold within the first four months of this book’s release.

In this book, Douglass shares his memories right from his early childhood to manhood. He talks about the countless struggles that he had to go through growing up as a slave, the strides that he made towards attaining literacy, and his emancipation from slavery.

The narrative will surely take the reader through an emotional journey. As I was reading this book, I was enraged to know about the barbarity with which slaves were treated, and at the same time, I felt a deep sense of empathy and compassion towards the victims of slavery.

From all the books that I’ve read in the past, I’ve never come across one that could move me to tears but this book was an exception to that because it’s so well written that the reader could literally visualize the life of a slave in the plantation and what it would’ve been like. You’ll experience this in the very first chapter of the book.

In chapter 1 of this narrative, Douglass recalls witnessing his own aunt being mercilessly whipped by her master, and the detail with which he describes this diabolic act says everything about slavery and how evil it was.

In the book, Douglass refrains from sharing the details of his escape from Maryland in 1838 because, in the year in which this book was published, slavery was still active, and revealing the details of Douglass’s escape would have probably hindered the chances of a fellow-slave to escape as Douglass did.

In conclusion, I’d say this book is truly inspiring because it’s the journey of a man who was born a slave and ended up becoming a statesman. When you read the parts in the book which talk about the cruelty with which the slaves were treated, it will make you feel uncomfortable but still, it’s important to know about these events as it’s a part of our history.

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