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The Life & Times of Frederick Douglass by Himself

Frederick Douglass's third autobiography, published in 1881, revised in 1892. Because of the emancipation of American slaves during and following the American Civil War, Douglass gave more details about his life as a slave and his escape from slavery in this volume than he could in his two previous autobiographies (which would have put him and his family in danger).


Although it is the least studied and analyzed, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass allows readers to view his life as a whole.

His First Free Earnings

The fifth day after my arrival [in New Bedford] I put on the clothes of a common laborer and went upon the wharves in search of work. On my way down Union Street I saw a large pile of coal in front of the house of Rev. Ephraim Peabody, the Unitarian minister. I went to the kitchen door and asked the privilege of bringing in and putting away this coal. "What will you charge?" said the lady. "I will leave that to you madam."  "You may put it away," she said.  I was not long in accomplishing the job, when the dear lady put into my hand two silver half-dollars. To understand the emotion which swelled my heart as I clasped this money, realizing that I had no master who take it from me - that it was mine - that my hands were my own and could earn more of the precious coin - one must have been in some sense himself a slave. 

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