Celebrating Black History Month at the VCU Libraries
Reviewed by Monique Prince, Undergraduate Services Librarian
Frederick Douglass published his autobiography in 1845, when he was still legally a slave. This daring move followed his successful speeches at abolitionist rallies after he escaped from slavery. In his Narrative, Douglass tells of his life in Maryland and depicts the harsh and brutal reality of slave life. His eloquent writing style is surprising for someone with no formal education, but as a child he was sent to Baltimore, and his mistress there taught him to read. As he was exposed to progressive ideas in the city, he began to develop abolitionist views that eventually led to his decision to escape and speak out against slavery. This work is viewed by many to be a quintessential example of both autobiography and Slave Narrative genres.
To access this or any other known slave narrative, see the Documenting the American South North American Slave Narratives project.