Frederick Douglass in Brooklyn by Frederick Douglass

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This collection of Douglass’s speeches in Brooklyn displays the power of the former slave’s oratory before, during, and after the Civil War. Editor Hamm, a professor of media studies, places a selection of carefully reconstructed speeches in this slim volume, and gives useful context on how they were locally received.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

"This collection of Douglass’s speeches in Brooklyn displays the power of the former slave’s oratory before, during, and after the Civil War. Editor Hamm, a professor of media studies, places a selection of carefully reconstructed speeches in this slim volume, and gives useful context on how they were locally received. A concise introduction provides detail about 19th-century Brooklyn and its conflicted legacy of racial prejudice and abolitionism. When Douglass’s own words are reproduced, his talent as a writer and the sheer monstrousness of slavery are both driven home."
--Publishers Weekly

"A collection of rousing 19th-century speeches on freedom and humanity. The eloquent orator Frederick Douglass (c. 1818-1895) delivered eight impressive speeches in Brooklyn, New York, ‘far from a bastion of abolitionist support,’ which, even as late as 1886, had only a small black population...Editor Hamm provides helpful introductions and notes and gives illuminating context and perspective by including their coverage in the ‘virulently proslavery’ Brooklyn Eagle...Covering one speech, the Eagle defended its claim of black inferiority by asserting, ‘the abject submission of a race who are content to be enslaved when there is an opportunity to be free, gives the best evidence that they are fulfilling the destiny which Providence marked out for them.’ Proof that Douglass' speeches, responding to the historical exigencies of his time, amply bear rereading today."
--Kirkus Reviews

"A fascinating collection of Frederick Douglass's controversial speeches in Brooklyn, N.Y., this volume compiles original source material that illustrates the relationship between the abolitionist and the then city of Brooklyn."
--Publishers Weekly, Fall 2016 Announcements

“Although he never lived in Brooklyn, the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass had many friends and allies who did. Hamm has collected Douglass’s searing antislavery speeches (and denunciations of him by the pro-slavery newspaper the Brooklyn Eagle) delivered at Brooklyn locales during the mid-19th century.”
--Publishers Weekly, A notable African-American Title

This volume compiles original source material that illustrates the complex relationship between Frederick Douglass and the city of Brooklyn. Most prominent are the speeches the abolitionist gave at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Plymouth Church, and other leading Brooklyn institutions. Whether discussing the politics of the Civil War or recounting his relationships with Abraham Lincoln and John Brown, Douglass’s towering voice sounds anything but dated. An introductory essay examines the intricate ties between Douglass and Brooklyn abolitionists, while brief chapter introductions and annotations fill in the historical context.

Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) was an abolitionist leader, spokesman for racial equality, and defender of women’s rights. He was born into slavery in Maryland and learned to read and write around age twelve, and it was through this that his ideological opposition to slavery began to take shape. He successfully escaped bondage in 1838. In 1845, he published his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, which became a best seller in the US and was translated into several languages. He went on to advise President Abraham Lincoln on the treatment of black soldiers during the Civil War and continued to work for equality until his death.
 

About Frederick Douglass

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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. Michael McCurdy, the celebrated American artist, has illustrated books by David Mamet and Edward Abbey. He lives in Massachusetts.
 
Published January 3, 2017 by Akashic Books. 192 pages
Genres: History, War, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Publishers Weekly

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on Aug 24 2017

This collection of Douglass’s speeches in Brooklyn displays the power of the former slave’s oratory before, during, and after the Civil War. Editor Hamm, a professor of media studies, places a selection of carefully reconstructed speeches in this slim volume, and gives useful context on how they were locally received.

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