My Bondage and My Freedom Frederick Douglass, David W. Blight

Publication date:
28 Jan 2014
Yale University Press
432 pages: 210 x 140 x 22mm
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Born into slavery in 1818, Frederick Douglass escaped to freedom and became a passionate advocate for abolition and social change and the foremost spokesperson for the nation’s enslaved African American population in the years preceding the Civil War. My Bondage and My Freedom is Douglass’s masterful recounting of his remarkable life and a fiery condemnation of a political and social system that would reduce people to property and keep an entire race in chains.

This classic is revisited with a new introduction and annotations by celebrated Douglass scholar David W. Blight. Blight situates the book within the politics of the 1850s and illuminates how My Bondage represents Douglass as a mature, confident, powerful writer who crafted some of the most unforgettable metaphors of slavery and freedom—indeed of basic human universal aspirations for freedom—anywhere in the English language.

Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) was an American social reformer, orator, author, and statesman. David W. Blight is professor of American history at Yale University and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition.

"David Blight has produced a fine edition of Douglass' second autobiography. This is an essential work in African-American and American history, and displays Douglass' developing strength as a writer and political leader."—Richard Slotkin, Wesleyan University

"With scorching rhetoric, my heroic ancestor rails against the inhumanity of slavery while upholding the tenets of liberty with poetic elegance. In this new edition, David Blight offers a fresh perspective on my great-great-great grandfather's life from his enslavement on the eastern shore of Maryland to his emergence as a revolutionary leader at the center of a national crisis over the future of slavery."—Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives

"David Blight's graceful introduction provides the essential historical context, public as well as private, and helps us appreciate how Douglass's great book managed to be at once a piercing polemic, an extraordinary act of memory, and a masterpiece of American prose."—James Oakes, City University of New York