The memoirs of Frederick Douglass

Fri, Oct 27 2023, 2pm

Event to be held via Zoom.

The Fourth Friday Book Club will meet from 2 to 3:30 p.m. CDT on October 27 to discuss the life and narrative of Frederick Douglass.

Among the Frederick Douglass memoirs are

  • My Bondage and My Freedom 
  • Life and Times of Frederick Douglass 
  • Frederick Douglass: Speeches and Writings 
  • The Portable Frederick Douglass, edited by John Stauffer and Henry Louis Gates Jr.

The Portable Frederick Douglass includes the full range of Douglass' works, the full narrative of Douglass' life, extracts from My Bondage and My Freedom, and the many brilliant speeches that launched Douglass' political career—regarded as the greatest oratory of the Civil War era. 

What the Slave is to the Fourth of July was delivered on July 5, 1852. (Douglass insisted he would not appear on July 4 and chose July 5.) It is no exaggeration to say this speech is the most damning critique of American hypocrisy (his words) ever spoken.

The life of Frederick Douglass is a wholly exceptional story of self-determination and advancement. He was born in 1817 or 1818, with an enslaved mother consigned to households other than where the baby lived. His father, likely a white man, was unknown.  “Genealogical trees do not flourish among slaves,” to quote Douglass. 

Douglass was the most photographed American of any race in the 19th century, both in the United States and in Europe. 

At about age 20, he escaped slavery. Douglass traveled widely as a celebrated abolitionist advocate. Despite this, he was routinely ejected from whites-only railroad cars, restaurants, and lodgings.

Douglass wrote analyses of court opinions that remain in constitutional law casebooks; he was widely published in newspaper and magazine columns, and hundreds of pamphlets on topics that included women's equality, history, philosophy, literature, art, and international affairs.

The Fourth Friday Book Club welcomes all UMRA members! For more information, please email Dorothy Marden  or Maggie Catambay

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