Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, A Monumental American Man

Tonya Bolden. Abrams, $19.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4197-2546-3
Adopting a conversational tone, Bolden (Crossing Ebenezer Creek) recounts the “legend’s life” of “the de facto president of [19th-century] black America,” Frederick Douglass, né Bailey (1818–1895). Douglass—a self-emancipated slave, orator, writer, newspaper editor and owner, abolitionist, desegregationist, women’s rights advocate, Underground railroad conductor, civil servant, and diplomat—believed that slavery and racism constituted “twin-monsters of darkness.” He fought against both, encouraging his audience to invest in durable assets such as education and skills, in order to improve their world. This informative, handsomely designed biography posits that Douglass’s break from William Lloyd Garrison in the late 1840s constituted a turning point in Douglass’s career; Bolden charts, in detail, his independent voice thereafter, through the battle for emancipation to enfranchisement and the fight against Jim Crow–era “black codes.” Contrasting the leonine and financially successful public figure—backed in his early days by English abolitionists—and fallible private person, Bolden skillfully interweaves the political developments of Douglass’s time with his personal life. Archival photographs and illustrations, journalistic extracts, a timeline, and other resources are included. Ages 10–14. Agent: Jennifer Lyons, Lyons Literary. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/18/2017
Release date: 01/09/2018
Genre: Children's
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