The author of the most influential African American autobiography of his era rebelled against his enslavement in the South and rose through the ranks of the American antislavery movement in the North to become the most electrifying speaker and compelling writer produced by black America in the nineteenth century. With the publication of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself in June 1845, Frederick Douglass (1818895) became an international sensation at the age of twenty-seven. Within five years of its publication, Douglass’s Narrative had become a best-seller, with an estimated thirty thousand copies in print by 1850.
- Born: 1818 · Talbot County, MD
- Died: Feb 20, 1895 · Washington, D.C., United States
For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.