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The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass: His Early Life As a Slave, His Escape from Bondage, His Complete History to the Present Time

Life and Times of Frederick Douglass: His Early Life as a Slave, His Escape from Bondage, and His Complete History to the Present Time (Hardcover) by Frederick Douglass, George L. Ruffin (Introduction)

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Book Description

This is the first paperback facsimile edition of a work which contributed strongly to the Black people's struggle for freedom and equality.

Born in slavery in Maryland in 1817, Frederick Douglass escaped from servitude twenty years later, joined the ranks of the Abolitionists and devoted a long and fruitful life to the winning of freedom for his people.

Douglass worked with William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips and John Brown, and during the Civil War was so highly regarded by Abraham Lincoln for his contributions to the Union cause that the Great Emancipator called him "the most meritorious person I have ever seen." A fervent integrationist, Douglass was the first of the "freedom riders" and "sit-ins". He felt that true freedom could not come for him until all Blacks were free and equal, and he gave voice and direction to the movement to achieve this goal.

Told in Frederick Douglass's own words, this volume is an important work of Americana.-This text refers to the Paperback edition.


5 out of 5 stars A powerful book, on many levels., October 25, 1998

By A Customer

This review is from: Life And Times Of Frederick Douglass (Notable American Authors) (Library Binding)

This book, written in Douglass' later years, not only lifted my spirits but did a great deal to reestablish my faith in humanity. This was a man who had every opportunity, and reason, to be bitter and/or vengeful. He, instead, chose to fight, with his intellect and his golden tongue, for what he, and others chained in slavery and social subservience, rightfully disserved as a member of our human race. He was a man of conviction and inner strength who taught himself to write with an elegance that I have never seen equaled. I strongly recommend this book.

5 out of 5 stars Must read!, January 4, 2008

By Me

This review is from: The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (Dover Value Editions) (Paperback)

I think this is a must-read book. Douglass is a wonderful example of a man who "made lemonade out of lemons." Really, he is a terrific role model...a man of integrity, incredible intelligence, and an overflowing heart.

5 out of 5 stars UP FROM SLAVERY-THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS, February 11, 2007

By Alfred Johnson (boston, ma) (REAL NAME)    

This review is from: The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (Dover Value Editions) (Paperback)


At the start of the 21st century the international labor movement faces, as it has for a long time, a crisis of revolutionary leadership. That leadership is necessary to resolve the contradiction between the outmoded profit-driven international capitalist productive system and a future production system based on social solidarity, cooperation and production for social use. In America, at least, there is also a crisis of leadership of the black liberation struggle, which is tied into the labor question as well through the key role of blacks in the labor force. More happily in the 19th century in the struggle against slavery by the slaves and former slaves for black liberation there was such a leadership and none more important than the subject of this autobiography, Frederick Douglass. Even a cursory look at his life puts today 'clean' black leadership in the shades.

That Frederick Douglass was exceptional as a fighter for black freedom, women's rights and as a man there is no question. His early life story of struggle for individual escape from slavery, attempts to educate himself and take an active political role on the slavery question rightly thrilled audiences here and in Europe. I, however, believe that he definitely came into his own as a revolutionary politician when he broke from Garrisonian non-resistant abolitionism and linked up with more radical elements like John Brown and the Boston 'high' abolitionists like Wendell Phillips and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. This abolitionist element pointed the way to the necessary fight to the finish strategy, arms in hand, to end slavery that eventually came to fruition in the Civil War.

At one time I personally believed that Douglass should have gone with John Brown to Harpers Ferry. He would have provided a better grasp of the political and military situation there than Brown had and would have been forceful in calling out the slaves and others in the area to aid the uprising. In no way was my position on his refusal based on his personal courage of which there was no question. I now believe that Douglass more than made up for any help he would have given Brown by his work for an emancipation proclamation and for his calls for arming blacks in the Civil War to take part in their own emancipation. As such, it is well known that Douglass was instrumental in calling for the creation of the famous Massachusetts 54th Regiment, including the recruitment of two of his sons. Yes, 200,000 black soldiers and sailors under arms fighting to the death, and under penalty of death by the rebels, for their freedom is a fitting monument to the man.

Douglass, as well as every other militant abolitionist worth his or her salt, lined up politically with the new Republican Party headed by Lincoln and Seward before, during and shortly after the Civil War. However, the Republican Party ran out of steam as a progressive force fairly shortly after the war, culminating in the sell-out Compromise of 1877 which abandoned blacks to their fate in the South. Douglass, committed to emancipation, education and 'forty acres and a mule' for his fellows stayed with that party far too long. When key elements of that party lost heart in the fight for black emancipation due to their racism and other factors, moved on to other more financially rewarding interests, or accepted the traditional white leadership of the South he also should have moved on to another progressive formation.

Embryonic workers parties and other such progressive formations were raising their heads in the 1870's. I do not believe that office in the Consular Service in Haiti was worth continuing to support a party going in the wrong direction. Notwithstanding that point, if you want to read about the exploits of a 'big man' in the history of the struggles of the oppressed, our history, when it counted this is your stop. Honor the memory of Frederick Douglass.

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