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My Bondage and My Freedom

Frederick Douglass

Book Overview: 

The life of Frederick Douglass, recorded in the pages which follow, is not merely an example of self elevation under the most adverse circumstances; it is, moreover, a noble vindication of the highest aims of the American anti-slavery movement.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .e pair of trowsers of the same material, for summer, and a pair of trowsers and a jacket of woolen, most slazily put together, for winter; one pair of yarn stockings, and one pair of shoes of the coarsest description. The slave's entire apparel could not have cost more than eight dollars per year. The allowance of food and clothing for the little children, was committed to their mothers, or to the older slavewomen having the care of them. Children who were unable to work in the field, had neither shoes, stockings, jackets nor trowsers given them. Their clothing consisted of two coarse tow-linen shirts—already described—per year; and when these failed them, as they often did, they went naked until the next allowance day. Flocks of little children from five to ten years old, might be seen on Col. Lloyd's plantation, as destitute of clothing as any little heathen on the west coast of Africa; and this, not merely during the summer months, but during the frosty wea. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I read Frederick Douglass’s first autobiography while I was studying abroad in Tanzania. I was taking malaria medication at the time, which seemed to affect my emotional state quite a bit. Both my imagination and my sensitivity were amplified, leading to higher highs and lower lows. It was at this t

" The remark is not unfrequently made, that slaves are the most contented and happy labourers in the world. They dance and sing, and make all manner of joyful noises—so they do; but it is a great mistake to suppose them happy because they sing. The songs of the slave represent the sorrows, rather

Remarkable, of course. Eloquent, and a bit wordy in 19th century style, but Douglass needed to prove that a Black man could match the rhetoric of his white peers.

I was most interested in Douglass’s comments on the expropriation of the product of labor. In skimming a couple of internet pieces on the

This is a great book, by a great American. Skeptics looking at that statement might think, well sure you think that reading his own account. Except I've found autobiographies unintentionally revealing in fascinating ways. Within the last year I read autobiographies and memoirs by Ghandi, Dian Fossey

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