Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

For the Great Family of Man

For Ages: 12 and up
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Here in a swift and compelling narrative, Peter Burchard tells the story of the greatest black American of the nineteenth century, a pioneer who laid down a firm foundation for all men and women who came after him.

As a child and as a youth, Frederick Douglass was a slave, but his intelligence, his resilient character, and his innate charm, together with a measure of good fortune, made it possible for him to rise above a state of servitude. He became a forceful speaker and persuasive writer and conducted a campaign to abolish slavery and secure civil rights for his people and for all Americans. He saw himself as a soldier in a battle for the dignity of the "great family of man."

This new biography presents Douglass as he lived through the misery, tragedy, and heartbreak of his early years, as he escaped from slavery only to endure anxiety and outrage in the free states of the North. He eventually made his way to Great Britain, where he lectured forcefully against slavery.

In the United States, as the Civil War began, Douglass recruited young black men to fight and die for their freedom and the freedom of their brothers held in bondage in the South. He became a friend and counselor to presidents, senators, and governors.

Here is a full-length portrait of this strong and passionate American.
Choose a format:
  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416967521 | 
  • October 2007 | 
  • Grades 7 and up
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Read an Excerpt


On Tuesday, August 10, 1841, Frederick Douglass, three years a fugitive from slavery, paced the top deck of the ferry that was taking him from New Bedford to the island of Nantucket.

At twenty-three, he stood above the six-foot mark and, having labored in shipyards in Maryland and Massachusetts, was both broad and muscular. His skin was golden brown. His wide forehead and prominent cheekbones framed dark and penetrating eyes, a broad nose, and a generous mouth. His hands were tough and leathery.

With Douglass on the little steamer was a large and sometimes boisterous crowd of passengers, most of them white, some of them... see more

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