Cover image for Frederick Douglass : selected speeches and writings
Frederick Douglass : selected speeches and writings
Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895. Works. Selections. 1999.
First edition.
Publication Information:
Chicago : Lawrence Hill Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
xviii, 789 pages ; 24 cm.
General Note:
"This book is an abridgement and adaptation of Philip S. Foner's The life and writings of Frederick Douglass, originally published in New York in five volumes, 1950-1975"--T.p. verso.

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E449 .D7345 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
E449 .D7345 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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One of the greatest African American leaders and one of the most brilliant minds of his time, Frederick Douglass spoke and wrote with unsurpassed eloquence on almost all the major issues confronting the American people during his life--from the abolition of slavery to women's rights, from the Civil War to lynching, from American patriotism to black nationalism. Between 1950 and 1975, Philip S. Foner collected the most important of Douglass's hundreds of speeches, letters, articles, and editorials into an impressive five-volume set, now long out of print. Abridged and condensed into one volume, and supplemented with several important texts that Foner did not include, Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings presents the most significant, insightful, and elegant short works of Douglass's massive oeuvre.

Author Notes

Born a slave in Maryland in about 1817, Frederick Douglass never became accommodated to being held in bondage. He secretly learned to read, although slaves were prohibited from doing so. He fought back against a cruel slave-breaker and finally escaped to New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1838 at about the age of 21. Despite the danger of being sent back to his owner if discovered, Douglass became an agent and eloquent orator for the Massachusetts Antislavery Society. He lectured extensively in both England and the United States. As an ex-slave, his words had tremendous impact on his listeners.

In 1845 Douglass wrote his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, which increased his fame. Concerned that he might be sent back to slavery, he went to Europe. He spent two years in England and Ireland speaking to antislavery groups.

Douglass returned to the United States a free man and settled in Rochester, New York, where he founded a weekly newspaper, The North Star, in 1847. In the newspaper he wrote articles supporting the antislavery cause and the cause of human rights. He once wrote, "The lesson which [the American people] must learn, or neglect to do so at their own peril, is that Equal Manhood means Equal Rights, and further, that the American people must stand for each and all for each without respect to color or race."

During the Civil War, Douglass worked for the Underground Railroad, the secret route of escape for slaves. He also helped recruit African-Americans soldiers for the Union army. After the war, he continued to write and to speak out against injustice. In addition to advocating education for freed slaves, he served in several government posts, including United States representative to Haiti.

In 1855, a longer version of his autobiography appeared, and in 1895, the year of Douglass's death, a completed version was published. A best-seller in its own time, it has since become available in numerous editions and languages.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Renowned as the outstanding African American of the nineteenth century, Douglass was, without doubt, one of the most outstanding Americans of all times. Although he is known contemporarily through his exceptional writings, during his life Douglass was mainly known as an orator. Some consider him the greatest American orator of his time, a substantial power in the formation of public opinions. It was through his speeches and writings that Douglass changed U.S. history. This volume, developed from a series of five volumes originally edited by Foner, covers Douglass' speeches and writings over a 54-year period. The breadth and depth of his focus and concerns reflected in more than 2,000 speeches, editorials, articles, and letters provide a wellspring of knowledge about the man and his intellect. Although many historical personalities rise and fall in contemporary interest, Douglass' substantial work over this period provides a critique of the U.S. that resonates as strongly today as it did at the time. Vernon Ford

Library Journal Review

Taylor (I Was Born a Slave: An Anthology of Classic Slave Narratives), an editor at Lawrence Hill, serves readers and libraries well by adapting and abridging Foner's acclaimed The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass, Vols. 1-5 (International Publishers, 1950-1975). As the text shows, Douglass's language, intellect, and humanity create a compelling narrative of 19th-century America. On display here are his ideas about abolitionism, feminism, electoral politics, and peace, as well as family, religion, literature, and economics. Although Taylor does not always provide thorough citations, this much of Douglass's work is not available elsewhere in such an affordable volume. Recommended for public and academic libraries.ÄSherri Barnes, Ventura, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Yuval TaylorPhilip S. Foner
Introductionp. xi
Prefacep. xvii
Part 1 From 1841 to the Founding of The North Starp. 1
The Church and Prejudice, speech delivered at the Plymouth Church Anti-Slavery Society, December 23, 1841p. 3
To William Lloyd Garrison, November 8, 1842p. 4
The Folly of Our Opponents, The Liberty Bell, 1845p. 8
My Slave Experience in Maryland, speech before the American Anti-Slavery Society, May 6, 1845p. 10
To William Lloyd Garrison, September 1, 1845p. 14
To William Lloyd Garrison, January 1, 1846p. 17
To William Lloyd Garrison, January 27, 1846p. 20
To Francis Jackson, January 29, 1846p. 24
To Horace Greeley, April 15, 1846p. 27
An Appeal to the British People, reception speech at Finsbury Chapel, Moorfields, England, May 12, 1846p. 30
To Samuel Hanson Cox, D.D., October 30, 1846p. 40
To Henry C. Wright, December 22, 1846p. 49
Farewell Speech to the British People, at London Tavern, London, England, March 30, 1847p. 54
The Right to Criticize American Institutions, speech before the American Anti-Slavery Society, May 11, 1847p. 75
To Thomas Van Rensselaer, May 18, 1847p. 83
Bibles for the Slaves, The Liberty Bell, June, 1847p. 86
Part 2 From the Founding of The North Star to the Compromise of 1850p. 89
To Henry Clay, The North Star, December 3, 1847p. 91
What of the Night? The North Star, May 5, 1848p. 97
"Prejudice Against Color," The North Star, May 5, 1848p. 99
The Rights of Women, The North Star, July 28, 1848p. 101
The Revolution of 1848, speech at West India Emancipation Celebration, Rochester, New York, August 1, 1848p. 103
To Thomas Auld, September 3, 1848p. 111
An Address to the Colored People of the United States, The North Star, September 29, 1848p. 117
The Blood of the Slave on the Skirts of the Northern People, The North Star, November 17, 1848p. 122
Colonization, The North Star, January 26, 1849p. 125
The Constitution and Slavery, The North Star, February 9, 1849p. 127
The Constitution and Slavery, The North Star, March 16, 1849p. 129
To H. G. Warner, Esq., The North Star, March 30, 1849p. 134
Comments on Gerrit Smith's Address, The North Star, March 30, 1849p. 137
Colorphobia in New York! The North Star, May 25, 1849p. 141
To Capt. Thomas Auld, Formerly My Master, September 3, 1849p. 143
Government and Its Subjects, The North Star, November 9, 1849p. 146
The Destiny of Colored Americans, The North Star, November 16, 1849p. 148
Part 3 From the Compromise of 1850 to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854p. 151
Henry Clay and Slavery, The North Star, February 8, 1850p. 153
At Home Again, The North Star, May 30, 1850p. 156
A Letter to the American Slaves, The North Star, September 5, 1850p. 158
Lecture on Slavery, No. 1, delivered in Corinthian Hall, Rochester, New York, December 1, 1850p. 163
To Gerrit Smith, Esqr., January 21, 1851p. 170
Change of Opinion Announced, The Liberator, May 23, 1851p. 173
To Gerrit Smith, Esqr., May 21, 1851p. 174
The Free Negro's Place Is in America, speech delivered at National Convention of Liberty Party, Buffalo, New York, September 18, 1851p. 176
Freedom's Battle at Christiana, Frederick Douglass' Paper, September 25, 1851p. 178
On Being Considered for the Legislature, Frederick Douglass' Paper, October 30, 1851p. 183
Extract from a Speech at Providence, Frederick Douglass' Paper, December 11, 1851p. 184
Hon. Horace Greeley and the People of Color, Frederick Douglass' Paper, January 29, 1852p. 185
Horace Greeley and Colonization, Frederick Douglass' Paper, February 26, 1852p. 187
The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro, speech at Rochester, New York, July 5, 1852p. 188
The Fugitive Slave Law, speech to the National Free Soil Convention at Pittsburgh, August 11, 1852p. 206
To Gerrit Smith, Esqr., November 6, 1852p. 210
A Call to Work, Frederick Douglass' Paper, November 19, 1852p. 211
To Harriet Beecher Stowe, March 8, 1853p. 213
The Heroic Slave, Autographs for Freedom, 1853p. 219
The Black Swan, Alias Miss Elizabeth Greenfield, Frederick Douglass' Paper, April 8, 1853p. 247
The Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin, Frederick Douglass' Paper, April 29, 1853p. 248
The Present Condition and Future Prospects of the Negro People, speech at annual meeting of the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, New York City, May 11, 1853p. 250
The Claims of Our Common Cause, address of the Colored Convention held in Rochester, July 6-8, 1853, to the People of the United Statesp. 260
A Terror to Kidnappers, Frederick Douglass' Paper, November 25, 1853p. 271
Part 4 From the Kansas-Nebraska Act to the Election of Abraham Lincolnp. 273
The Word "White," Frederick Douglass' Paper, March 17, 1854p. 275
The End of All Compromises with Slavery--Now and Forever, Frederick Douglass' Paper, May 26, 1854p. 275
Is It Right and Wise to Kill a Kidnapper? Frederick Douglass' Paper, June 2, 1854p. 277
Anthony Burns Returned to Slavery, Frederick Douglass' Paper, June 9, 1854p. 281
The Claims of the Negro Ethnologically Considered, address delivered at Western Reserve College, July 12, 1854p. 282
The Kansas-Nebraska Bill, speech at Chicago, October 30, 1854p. 298
The Anti-Slavery Movement, lecture delivered before the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society, March 19, 1855p. 311
To Hon. Chas. Sumner, April 24, 1855p. 332
The True Ground upon Which to Meet Slavery, Frederick Douglass' Paper, August 24, 1855p. 333
The Final Struggle, Frederick Douglass' Paper, November 16, 1855p. 335
To Gerrit Smith, May 23, 1856p. 336
Fremont and Dayton, Frederick Douglass' Paper, August 15, 1856p. 338
The Do-Nothing Policy, Frederick Douglass' Paper, September 12, 1856p. 342
Peaceful Annihilation of Slavery Is Hopeless, quoted by William Chambers, American Slavery and Colour, New York, 1857p. 344
The Dred Scott Decision, speech delivered before American Anti-Slavery Society, New York, May 14, 1857p. 344
West India Emancipation, speech delivered at Canandaigua, New York, August 3, 1857p. 358
Resolutions Proposed for Anti-Capital Punishment Meeting, Rochester, New York, October 7, 1858p. 369
Capt. John Brown Not Insane, Douglass' Monthly, November, 1859p. 372
To the Rochester Democrat and American, October 31, 1859p. 376
To Helen Boucaster, December 7, 1859p. 379
The Constitution of the United States: Is It Pro-Slavery or Anti-Slavery? speech delivered in Glasgow, Scotland, March 26, 1860p. 379
To My British Anti-Slavery Friends, May 26, 1860p. 390
The Chicago Nominations, Douglass' Monthly, June, 1860p. 392
To James Redpath, Esq., June 29, 1860p. 396
To William Still, July 2, 1860p. 397
The Prospect in the Future, Douglass' Monthly, August, 1860p. 398
The Presidential Campaign of 1860, speech at celebration of West India Emancipation, August 1, 1860p. 401
The Late Election, Douglass' Monthly, December, 1860p. 413
Speech on John Brown, delivered in Tremont Temple, Boston, December 3, 1860p. 417
Part 5 From Secession to the Emancipation Proclamationp. 423
Dissolution of the American Union, Douglass' Monthly, January, 1861p. 425
The Union and How to Save It, Douglass' Monthly, February, 1861p. 429
The Inaugural Address, Douglass' Monthly, April, 1861p. 432
A Trip to Haiti, Douglass' Monthly, May, 1861p. 439
The Fall of Sumter, Douglass' Monthly, May, 1861p. 442
Sudden Revolution in Northern Sentiment, Douglass' Monthly, May, 1861p. 445
How to End the War, Douglass' Monthly, May, 1861p. 447
Nemesis, Douglass' Monthly, May, 1861p. 450
The Past and the Present, Douglass' Monthly, May, 1861p. 451
Notes on the War, Douglass' Monthly, July, 1861p. 454
The Decision of the Hour, substance of a lecture delivered at Zion Church, Sunday, June 16, 1861p. 458
The War and Slavery, Douglass' Monthly, August, 1861p. 463
The Rebels, the Government, and the Difference Between Them, Douglass' Monthly, August, 1861p. 468
To Rev. Samuel J. May, August 30, 1861p. 469
What Shall Be Done with the Slaves If Emancipated? Douglass' Monthly, January, 1862p. 470
The Future of the Negro People of the Slave States, speech delivered before the Emancipation League in Tremont Temple, Boston, February 5, 1862p. 474
The War and How to End It, speech delivered at Corinthian Hall, Rochester, New York, March 25, 1862p. 486
To Hon. Charles Sumner, April 8, 1862p. 493
The Slaveholders' Rebellion, speech delivered on the 4th day of July, 1862, at Himrods Corners, Yates Co., New Yorkp. 494
To Gerrit Smith, September 8, 1862p. 509
The President and His Speeches, Douglass' Monthly, September, 1862p. 510
Part 6 From the Emancipation Proclamation to the Eve of Appomattoxp. 515
Emancipation Proclaimed, Douglass' Monthly, October, 1862p. 517
The Work of the Future, Douglass' Monthly, November, 1862p. 521
A Day for Poetry and Song, remarks at Zion Church, December 28, 1862p. 523
"Men of Color, to Arms!" March 21, 1863p. 525
Why Should a Colored Man Enlist? Douglass' Monthly, April, 1863p. 528
Another Word to Colored Men, Douglass' Monthly, April, 1863p. 531
Address for the Promotion of Colored Enlistments, delivered at a mass meeting in Philadelphia, July 6, 1863p. 534
To Major G. L. Stearns, August 1, 1863p. 538
The Commander-in-Chief and His Black Soldiers, Douglass' Monthly, August, 1863p. 540
Valedictory, Douglass' Monthly, August, 1863p. 543
Our Work Is Not Done, speech delivered at the annual meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society held at Philadelphia, December 3-4, 1863p. 546
The Mission of the War, address sponsored by Women's Loyal League and delivered in Cooper Institute, New York City, January 13, 1864p. 553
To an English Correspondent, [June, 1864]p. 567
To William Lloyd Garrison, Esq., September 17, 1864p. 569
To Theodore Tilton, October 15, 1864p. 570
Part 7 Reconstruction, 1865-1876p. 575
The Need for Continuing Anti-Slavery Work, speech at Thirty-Second Annual Meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society, May 10, 1865p. 577
The Douglass Institute, lecture at Inauguration of Douglass Institute, Baltimore, September 29, 1865p. 580
Reply of the Colored Delegation to the President, February 7, 1866p. 586
The Future of the Colored Race, The North American Review, May, 1866p. 590
Reconstruction, Atlantic Monthly, December, 1866p. 592
To Theodore Tilton, [September, 1867]p. 598
To Josephine Sophie White Griffing, September 27, 1868p. 598
To Harriet Tubman, September 29, 1868p. 600
Salutatory, The New National Era, September 8, 1870p. 601
Seeming and Real, The New National Era, October 6, 1870p. 606
To A. M. Powell, Esq., October 7, 1870p. 608
The Unknown Loyal Dead, speech delivered at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, on Decoration Day, May 30, 1871p. 609
Letter from the Editor, The New National Era, June 13, 1872p. 610
Give Us the Freedom Intended for Us, The New National Era, December 5, 1872p. 612
To Hon. Gerrit Smith, September 25, 1873p. 614
Oration in Memory of Abraham Lincoln, delivered at the unveiling of the Freedmen's Monument in Memory of Abraham Lincoln, in Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C., April 14, 1876p. 615
Part 8 The Post-Reconstruction Era, 1877-1895p. 625
There Was a Right Side in the Late War, speech delivered at Union Square, New York City, on Decoration Day, May 30, 1878p. 627
John Brown, speech delivered at Storer College, Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, May 30, 1881p. 633
The Color Line, The North American Review, June, 1881p. 648
The United States Cannot Remain Half-Slave and Half-Free, speech on the occasion of the Twenty-First Anniversary of Emancipation in the District of Columbia, April 16, 1883p. 656
Address to the People of the United States, delivered at a Convention of Colored Men, Louisville, Kentucky, September 25, 1883p. 669
The Civil Rights Case, speech at the Civil Rights Mass-Meeting held at Lincoln Hall, Washington, D.C., October 22, 1883p. 685
To Elizabeth Cady Stanton, May 30, 1884p. 693
To Francis J. Grimke, January 19, 1886p. 695
Southern Barbarism, speech on the occasion of the Twenty-Fourth Anniversary of Emancipation in the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C., April 16, 1886p. 696
To W.H. Thomas, July 16, 1886p. 705
The Woman's Suffrage Movement, address before International Council of Women, Washington, D.C., March 31, 1888p. 706
I Denounce the So-Called Emancipation as a Stupendous Fraud, speech on the occasion of the Twenty-Sixth Anniversary of Emancipation in the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C., April 16, 1888p. 711
The Bloody Shirt, speech delivered at the National Republican Convention, Chicago, June 19, 1888p. 724
The Nation's Problem, speech delivered before the Bethel Literary and Historical Society, Washington, D.C., April 16, 1889p. 725
Introduction to The Reason Why the Colored American Is Not in the World's Columbia Exposition, 1892p. 740
Lynch Law in the South, The North American Review, July, 1892p. 746
Why Is the Negro Lynched? The Lesson of the Hour, 1894p. 750
Indexp. 777