This third volume of Frederick Douglass’s Correspondence Series exhibits Douglass at the peak of his political influence. It chronicles his struggle to persuade the nation to fulfill its promises to the former slaves and all African Americans in the tempestuous years of Reconstruction.
Douglass’s career changed dramatically with the end of the Civil War and the long-sought after emancipation of American slaves; the subsequent transformation in his public activities is reflected in his surviving correspondence. In these letters, from 1866 to 1880, Douglass continued to correspond with leading names in antislavery and other reform movements on both sides of the Atlantic, and political figures began to make up an even larger share of his correspondents.
The Douglass Papers staff located 817 letters for this time period and selected 242, or just under 30 percent, of them for publication. The remaining 575 letters are summarized in the volume’s calendar.