Life and Literary Contribution of Frederick Douglass
It could be said that Frederick Douglass is one of the most prominent African-American leader of the 19th century who is best known for his contribution to the African-American literature, authorship, journalism as well as editorship. Douglass is a key figure in the abolitionist movement and in the Afro-American press, journalism and literature. All his knowledge and courage Frederick Douglass put on the struggle for the complete abolition of slavery and its consequences. The most important facts from his early biography is that he was born in the Maryland in 1818 year and in secret from the slaveholders learned how to read and write subsequently he also teach slaves on the plantations. In 1838 year he escaped in Massachusetts and after that he became active participator of the abolitionist movement and the leader of African American abolitionists.
In addition, Douglass developed program which provide the black population of America with political and civil rights, especially the right to elect and be elected, along with white Americans, and consistently fought for its implementation after the elimination of slavery.To explain prominence of the Douglass’ literature contribution it should be mentioned that narrative of African American in that time was developed around the theme of slavery as a “condition of extreme physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual deprivation, a kind of hell on earth” (The Norton Anthology, 83). Considering the fact that African American narrative was written mainly by slaves or former slaves it was often reflect the theme of the “sale of a loved one or a dark night of the soul in which hope contends with despair for the spirit of the slave” (The Norton Anthology, 83).
Douglass’ autobiographic novel “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself” was a kind of breakthrough in the African American literature, since it was written by the former slave without help of the white editor. It should be mentioned that “Douglass risked public censure for egotism and incompetence because he had never had a day’s schooling in his life. Resolved, nevertheless, to write his own story in his own way, Douglass bore witness to the self-awareness, intellectual independence, and literary authority he claimed as a rightfully free man”. So, it could be said that despite the risk which was connected with publication of this autobiography Douglass succeeded not only in the recognition by the public of his writing skills but also in the statement about the education of African Americans.The second Frederick Douglass’ autobiographic work “My Bondage and My Freedom” was written in the situation when the slave narrative was experienced unprecedented rise and was “unmasking as never before the moral and social complexities of the American caste a class system in the North as well as the South” (The Norton Anthology, 84).
“By Bondage and My Freedom” was largely devoted to the criticism of the racism and paternalism which was present even among Americans who support liberal ideas. However, …