Four of the most important and enduring American slave narratives together in one volume.
Until slavery was abolished in 1865, millions of men, women, and children toiled under a system that stripped them of their freedom and their humanity. Much has been written about this shameful era of American history, but few books speak with as much power as the narratives written by those who experienced slavery firsthand.
The basis for the film of the same name, Twelve Years a Slave is Solomon Northup’s heartrending chronicle of injustice and brutality. Northup was born and raised a freeman in New York State—until he was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Deep South. Before returning to his family and freedom, he suffered smallpox, the overseer’s lash, and an attempted lynching.
Perhaps the most famous of all slave chronicles, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass immediately struck a chord with readers when it was first released in 1855. After escaping to freedom, Douglass became a well-known orator and abolitionist, drawing on his own experiences to condemn the evils of slavery.
One of the few female slave narratives, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl was originally published under a pseudonym by Harriet Jacobs. After she escaped to freedom in North Carolina, where she became an abolitionist, Jacobs described the particular suffering of female slaves, including sexual harassment and abuse.
Published in 1850, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth is Truth’s landmark memoir of her life as a slave in upstate New York and her transformation into a pioneer for racial equality and women’s rights.
These narratives serve as a timeless testament to the strength and bravery, and as a voice to the millions of people enslaved in this dark period of American history.
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Twelve Years a Slave
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
LETTER FROM WENDELL PHILLIPS, ESQ.
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Preface by the Author
Introduction by the Editor
II. The New Master and Mistress
III. The Slaves’ New Year’s Day
IV. The Slave Who Dared to Feel Like a Man
V. The Trials Of Girlhood
VI. The Jealous Mistress
VII. The Lover
VIII. What Slaves Are Taught to Think of the North
IX. Sketches Of Neighboring Slaveholders
X. A Perilous Passage in the Slave Girl’s Life
XI. The New Tie to Life
XII. Fear of Insurrection
XIII. The Church and Slavery
XIV. Another Link To Life
XV. Continued Persecutions
XVI. Scenes at the Plantation
XVII. The Flight
XVIII. Months Of Peril
XIX. The Children Sold
XX. New Perils
XXI. The Loophole of Retreat
XXII. Christmas Festivities
XXIII. Still in Prison
XXIV. The Candidate for Congress
XXV. Competition in Cunning
XXVI. Important Era in My Brother’s Life
XXVII. New Destination for the Children
XXVIII. Aunt Nancy
XXIX. Preparations for Escape
XXX. Northward Bound
XXXI. Incidents in Philadelphia
XXXII. The Meeting of Mother and Daughter
XXXIII. A Home Found
XXXIV. The Old Enemy Again
XXXV. Prejudice Against Color
XXXVI. The Hair-breadth Escape
XXXVII. A Visit to England
XXXVIII. Renewed Invitations to Go South
XXXIX. The Confession
XL. The Fugitive Slave Law
XLI. Free at Last
The Narrative of Sojourner Truth
The Narrative of Sojourner Truth
HER BIRTH AND PARENTAGE
HER BROTHERS AND SISTERS
HER RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION
DEATH OF MAU-MAU BETT
LAST DAYS OF BOMEFREE
DEATH OF BOMEFREE
COMMENCEMENT OF ISABELLA’S TRIALS IN LIFE
HER STANDING WITH HER NEW MASTER AND MISTRESS
ISABELLA AS A MOTHER
ILLEGAL SALE OF HER SON
IT IS OFTEN DARKEST JUST BEFORE DAWN
DEATH OF MRS. ELIZA FOWLER
ISABELLA’S RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE
FINDING A BROTHER AND SISTER
THE MATTHIAS DELUSION
THE CAUSE OF HER LEAVING THE CITY
THE CONSEQUENCES OF REFUSING A TRAVELLER A NIGHT’S LODGING
SOME OF HER VIEWS AND REASONINGS
THE SECOND ADVENT DOCTRINES
ANOTHER CAMP MEETING
HER LAST INTERVIEW WITH HER MASTER
CERTIFICATES OF CHARACTER
About the Authors
Title : Voices of Freedom: Four Classic Slave Narratives
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication Date: 2017
Solomon Northup (1808–1857) was a free-born African American from Saratoga Springs, New York. In 1841, he was kidnapped and forced into slavery for twelve years. With the help of his family and his father’s former master, Northup ultimately won his freedom and took the traders who betrayed him to court. He is best known for his autobiographical account of his enslavement, Twelve Years a Slave.
Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) was an American orator, author, and leader of the abolitionist movement. Born a slave in Maryland, Douglass successfully escaped in 1838 by boarding a train headed north. As a free man, he published several autobiographical works detailing his experiences in slavery. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is widely considered to be the finest example of a slave narrative. Douglass became the first African American to hold a high government rank, serving as minister-resident and consul general to the Republic of Haiti.
Harriet Jacobs (1813–1897) was an American author. Born into slavery in North Carolina, she escaped in 1835, and spent seven years hiding in her grandmother’s attic before fleeing to the North. In 1861, she published her memoir, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, under the pseudonym Linda Brent. Jacobs spent the Civil War and Reconstruction periods traveling the country, advocating on behalf of the rights of freed slaves.
Sojourner Truth (1797–1883) was a civil and women’s rights activist. She was raised in Dutch-speaking Ulster County, New York, and was bought and sold into slavery four times. In 1827, Truth ran away with her child and found refuge with an abolitionist family. Once freed, Truth moved to New York City, where she became an itinerant preacher and worked with other abolitionists to spread the word on antislavery and women’s rights. In her later years, she became involved with the Freedmen’s Bureau in Washington, DC, lobbying against the Civil War and segregation.