The son of a black slave and an unknown white father, Frederick Douglass (1817-1895) experienced first-hand the privations and brutality of America's "peculiar institution". Following his second, successful, attempt to escape, he went on to become a leading abolitionist and militant spokesman for African-American rights. A friend to Abraham Lincoln…
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Written at a time when the racist belief that Black authors could not be trusted to write African-American history was still prevalent even in the upper echelons of academia, this deft 1948 portrait of Douglass launched the career of Benjamin Quarles, the pioneering African-American historian whose body of work (including The Negro in the American Revolution and Lincoln and the Negro) transformed thinking about the role African-Americans played in the formation of the United States.
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