My Bondage and My Freedom-

   

"My Bondage and My Freedom" title page

This is an image I came across in an article that appeared in Callaloo, a journal dedicated to creative works by African American writers.  In this article, John Sekora brings to light how Frederick Douglas, over the course of 10 years, was able to liberate himself from the limitations of his writing, as well as the expectations and assumptions made by white abolitionists.  Sekora points out how even in something as simple as the title page, it is evident how different Douglas is at this point (1855) as a writer and as a man of great stature.  Douglas’s first autobiographical work was simply titled, Narrative, and was given an introduction by William Lloyd Garrison, who basically painted Douglas as a product of his own charity and guidance.  As this image shows, the introduction of My Bondage and My Freedom was written by James M’Cune Smith, an African American activist.  Smith champions Douglas’s writing, and celebrates his success as a man that has “passed through every stage of AMerican civilization in a single lifetime.”

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Filed under Arlo, Frederick Douglass Archive

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