Synopses & Reviews
A masterpiece of African American literature, Frederick Douglass's Narrative is the powerful story of an enslaved youth coming into social and moral consciousness by disobeying his white slavemasters and secretly teaching himself to read. Achieving literacy emboldens Douglass to resist, escape, and ultimately achieve his freedom. After escaping slavery, Douglass became a leader in the anti-slavery and women’s rights movements, a bestselling author, and U.S. diplomat.
In this new critical edition, legendary activist and feminist scholar Angela Davis sheds new light on the legacy of Frederick Douglass. In two philosophical lectures originally delivered at UCLA in autumn 1969, Davis focuses on Douglass’s intellectual and spiritual awakening, and the importance of self-knowledge in achieving freedom from all forms of oppression. With detailed attention to Douglass’s text, she interrogates the legacy of slavery and shares timeless lessons about oppression, resistance, and freedom. And in an extended introductory essay written for this edition, Davis comments on previous editions of the Narrative and re-examines Douglass through a contemporary feminist perspective. An important new edition of an American classic.
“Douglass' description of his life in slavery, his resistance, and his flight to freedom could not be more timely or more meaningful to students. At a time when education officials are wringing their hands about how difficult it is to teach black students literacy, Douglass demonstrates how the struggle for literacy has always been a part of the struggle for liberation. . . . This is where Angela Davis injects her considerable insight. Her introduction connects Douglass’ critique to the struggles for liberation in the 60's and 70's, demonstrating the same courage, audacity, and clarity of vision that was required to see through and defy the slave system.” Rick Ayers, Huffington Post
“In her most diplomatic method, Davis proves what I never realized until now: The Black American slave era was not so much about Blacks and slavery as it was about the state of all humanity. . . . Davis shows in this very compelling volume that Frederick Douglass was simply a man. And what all men and women were meant to be . . . free.” Judith Brown, Regal Magazine
“. . . the newly released Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself: A New Critical Edition (City Lights Books) brings together two of the great philosophical writers and racial justice activists of the last two centuries and combines the deeply personal writings of Frederick Douglass with several politically charged lectures given by Angela Y. Davis in the early 1970s. . . . Even for those who have never studied either writer in depth, Davis explores the many ways we can interpret Douglass’s anti-slavery writing today and draws parallels between the continued oppression of women and prisoners. . . . The breadth of Davis’s work in the past two decades is an inspiring example of bridge-building across causes and generations. That her contemporary activism can be coupled so flawlessly with Douglass’s historic writings and powerful legacy speaks to the importance of their combined influence spanning centuries. . . . At a time when the freedoms once granted by the Fourteenth Amendment are now being applied to corporate entities, cannabilizing the legacy of freed slaves in the United States, this book Davis’s call for a more engaged electorate is wonderfully timely and deeply engaging." Brittany Shoot, Colorlines
“[Davis] uses Douglass to examine the philosophy of freedom. . . . [She] dissects Douglass’ strengths and pitfalls of how he defined freedom a definition that, Davis explains, leaves enslaved women behind as symbols of oppression, unable to achieve the “manhood” Douglass equates with his liberation. . . . The two pioneering feminists merge together, in theory and in practice, on the nature(s) of liberation. In this book of merged centuries, freedom travels from idea to action (creating resistance) to finally, negotiating a complex reality.” Todd Steven Burroughs, Drums In The Global Village
“Being an educated man of color was a true anomaly in his day. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave Written By Himself discusses Douglass’s famous autobiography as Angela Y. Davis offers much studious insight on the matters she examines Douglass’s writings and how the man embraced intellectualism and spirituality to pull himself out of his subservient life in a society that thought of him as an animal. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a must for anyone trying to get a greater understanding of the black icon.” The Midwest Book Review
"The bottom line is that Frederick Douglass' narrative should be required reading for every person in the United States. But more to the point, it should be on the bookshelf in every home in America. The passion, the beauty, and the truth of Douglass' work is such that it calls into question not only the peculiar institution of slavery, but the ongoing acceptance of White Supremacy as the default position in this nation today." Rebecca Hensley, Changeseeker
“This edition of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass contains two previously unpublished ‘Lectures on Liberation’ by Angela Davis, delivered at the start of her controversial appointment at UCLA in 1969... An introduction Davis wrote in 2009 adds a look back at the lectures and speculates about the continuing relevance of Douglass’ text. Davis’ lectures apply methods from Hegelian and Marxist philosophy to an analysis of alienation, freedom, resistance, and liberation in the life of the slave, while her introduction focuses more on recent feminist readings critiquing Douglass… [providing] an interesting window onto the intellectual landscape of the 1960s. . . . Recommended. All levels/Libraries.”
G. Jay, Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries
"Education has always been the key to freedom. Frederick Douglass' former owner, Hugh Auld, once admonished his wife for attempting to teach the young Douglass to read because 'it would forever unfit him to be a slave.' Douglass made those words ring true not just by learning to read and write but by mastering the language and using it to help free millions of Americans. This chapter of the Frederick Douglass legacy has been well analyzed. The part of the story that often remains untold, however, is the Great Abolitionist's influence on the fledgling women's movement during and after his lifetime. Angela Y. Davis presents a long overdue examination of Douglass' work not just from the perspective of a woman but one of the most provocative and profound minds of the last half century. It is my sincere hope that this City Lights edition of The Narrative will inspire researchers and individuals to take a closer look at the tremendous degree of influence Anna Murray Douglass had in the life and the career of her husband and my great-great-great grandfather."
-- Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., Great-great-great grandson, Frederick Douglass & Great-great grandson, Booker T. Washington
"Just as Douglass was dedicated to abolishing the institution that imprisoned him and his people, Davis is dedicated to abolishing the institution that imprisoned her and still imprisons millions of Americans, mostly people of color: the modern American prison system." -- H. Bruce Franklin, African American Review
On Angela Davis's Blues Legacies: "Angela Davis's book is a complete revelation and a serious re-education." - Toni Morrison On Angela Davis's Women, Race and Class: "Davis's work deserves a wide readership... She has compiled much useful information not easily obtained elsewhere."
Normal 0 0 1 178 1015 sparky, inc. 8 2 1246 10.2006 0 0 0 A masterpiece of African American literature, Frederick Douglass's Narrative is the powerful story of an enslaved youth coming into social and moral consciousness by disobeying his white slavemasters and secretly teaching himself to read. Achieving literacy emboldens Douglass to resist, escape, and ultimately achieve his freedom. After escaping slavery, Douglass became a leader in the anti-slavery and women's rights movements, a bestselling author, and U.S. diplomat. In this new critical edition, legendary activist and feminist scholar Angela Davis sheds new light on the legacy of Frederick Douglass. In two philosophical lectures originally delivered at UCLA in autumn 1969, Davis focuses on Douglass's intellectual and spiritual awakening, and the importance of self-knowledge in achieving freedom from all forms of oppression. With detailed attention to Douglass's text, she interrogates the legacy of slavery and shares timeless lessons about oppression, resistance, and freedom. And in an extended introductory essay written for this edition, Davis comments on previous editions of the Narrative and re-examines Douglass through a contemporary feminist perspective. An important new edition of an American classic.
A new edition of the African American masterpiece featuring critical essays by Angela Y. Davis.
About the Author
American abolitionist, women's suffragist, author, statesman and reformer, Douglass is one of the most prominent figures in African-American history and U.S. history. His Narrative is a cornerstone of African-American literature. Internationally renowned public speaker, author, activist, scholar and symbol of 1970s black power, Davis was the third woman to appear on the FBI's "Most Wanted" list and has authored eight books.