What Did Frederick Douglass Write?

did-frederick-douglass-write Credit: Lisa Cook/CC-BY 2.0

Frederick Douglass wrote many things during his life, the most famous being his autobiography, "Life and Times of Frederick Douglass." Originally entitled "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave," when he first published it in 1845, it went through various edits and title changes throughout his life.

The first version of his autobiography was published in 1845, when the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison urged him to recount his personal experience within the system of slavery. The book was a success in both American and Europe, and was translated into several languages upon publication. Later, Douglass added content to his book, publishing it again with the title "My Bondage and My Freedom" in 1855. His final version, entitled "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" appeared in 1892.

This work instantly gained attention and has become one of the most famous descriptions of American slavery published. Douglass chose to use the real names and circumstances, which placed him in great danger when the book was published. Douglass was forced to flee to Europe when the book revealed the real name of his owner, who was legally entitled to track him down and enslave him again. After publishing his book, Douglass was unable to return to the United States until his supporters in Europe purchased his freedom.