Narrative of the Life of Federick Douglass, an American Slave

A book that changed the world


One of a former slave’s most popular autobiographies, “Narrative of Frederick Douglass ‘s Childhood,” records the battle of Douglass for his freedom and brutal violence by slave-owners. This story is considered the most famous of pieces written during the abolitionist revolution in the United States by former slaves and one of the most popular texts. Douglass recounts his childhood as a slave on his way to liberty in the book.


Sometime around 1818 in Talbot County, Maryland, the abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass was born into slavery. He became one of the most prominent thinkers of his time, advising presidents on a variety of causes, including women’s rights and Irish home rule, and lecturing to thousands. Douglass originally stayed with Betty Bailey, his maternal grandmother. Douglass was chosen at a young age to live in the home of the owners of the plantation, one of whom may have been his father. His mother died when he was about 10. Douglass was taught the alphabet by Baltimore slaveholder Hugh Auld‘s wife Sophia when he was about 12. Douglass wanted to study from white kids and those in the area until Auld forbade his wife to give further classes. On September 15, 1838, Douglass married Anna Murray, a free black woman. Douglass married Helen Pitts, a feminist from Honeoye, New York, after Anna‘s death. Since Pitts was white and almost 20 years younger than Douglass, their union created considerable uproar. The children of Douglass were

particularly displeased with the relationship. Nonetheless, 11 years later, Douglass and Pitts remained together until his death. Douglass and Anna had five children together: Rosetta, Lewis Henry, Frederick Jr., Charles Redmond, and Annie, who died at the age of 10.


Several autobiographies eloquently explain his experiences in slavery and his life during the Civil War, including the famous work Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, are among Douglass’ writings. Douglass entered a black church in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and frequently attended abolitionist gatherings. He even subscribed to The Liberator by Garrison. Douglass wrote and published his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, in 1845, at Garrison‘s urging. In the United States, the book was a

bestseller and was translated into many European languages. Even when Frederick Douglass‘s Narrative of the Life brought many fans to Douglass, some critics voiced skepticism that such exquisite prose could have been created by a former slave with no formal education. This is the story of his childhood, from the moment of his birth as a slave to the time of his escape from the North to freedom. It is an important political text, too. Slavery was still common in most of the

United States when Douglass published this book in 1845. To attempt to stop it in its tracks, he became a motivational speaker and journalist, thinking that if he taught people what slavery was actually like, they would understand why it ought to be abolished.


AntiSlavery Society Lecturer. In 1877, he became a federal marshal for the District of Columbia and in 1881 he became registrar of deeds. His biggest / main victory in 1877 was to become the first black person to obtain a significant U.S. government nomination. African-American troops.

Work Cited

Douglass, Frederick, 1818–1895. Narrative Of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Boston :Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.