Frederick Douglass, born around 1817, was the son of an
African-American woman and a white slaveholder. Brilliant and
brave, Douglass once led a minor insurrection against his
masters-but unlike the famous Nat Turner, Douglass escaped his
venture alive. While still a young man he fled, hungry and hunted,
to the North, where he was befriended by abolitionists. His
dramatic autobiography was published in 1845, creating a sensation
and spurring Douglass's career as a militant, uncompromising leader
of African-Americans. He recruited African-American volunteers for
the Civil War and later secured and protected the rights of the
freemen. Douglass later became secretary of the Santo Domingo
Commission, Recorder of Deeds in the District of Columbia, and
United States Minister to Haiti. He died in 1895.
Peter J. Gomes was the minister at Memorial Church at Harvard University from 1974 until his death in 2011. Among his many books are The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart and Strength for the Journey: Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living.
Gregory Stephens is Lecturer of Cultural Studies and Film in the Department of Literature in English, University of West Indies-Mona. He is the author of On Racial Frontiers: The New Culture of Frederick Douglass, Ralph Ellison, and Bob Marley. Previously he was an award-winning songwriter and journalist in Austin and Laredo, Texas, as well as a bilingual public school teacher (Spanish/English). He lives in Kingston, Jamaica.
"This narrative contains many affecting incidents, many passages of
great eloquence and power...Who can read [it], and be insensible to
its pathos and sublimity?"-William Lloyd Garrison
"He experienced...the tyranny and circumscription of an ambitious human being who was classified as real estate."-W.E.B. DuBois