This eloquent and dramatic autobiography of the early life of an American slave was first published in 1845, when its author was about twenty-eight years old and had just achieved his freedom. Although it was not uncommon during the era of American slavery for articulate Blacks who escaped to have their experiences published, Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass is unique among these "slave narratives" because of Douglass's eloquent power of expression. The publication of the book also marked the beginning of a career in which the militant and uncompromising Douglass emerged as the first great leader of Afro-Americans in the United States. The powers that enabled him to reach this position are abundantly clear in his Narrative, which, incidentally, was an invaluable source for Harriet Beecher Stowe while she was writing Uncle Tom's Cabin.
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