This week the Library of Congress, holder of the extensive Frederick Douglass Papers collection, announced the opening a new exhibit, “Books That Shaped America.” Of the 88 books featured, it’s only right that Frederick Douglass’ battle cry to antebellum America, and in fact the world, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, is included.
“This list is a starting point,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “It is not a register of the ‘best’ American books – although many of them fit that description. Rather, the list is intended to spark a national conversation on books written by Americans that have influenced our lives, whether they appear on this initial list or not.”
According to LOC’s description:
Frederick Douglass, “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” (1845)
Frederick Douglass’s first autobiography is one of the best-written and most widely read slave narratives. It was boldly published less than seven years after Douglass had escaped and before his freedom was purchased. Prefaced by statements of support from his abolitionist friends, William Garrison and Wendell Phillips, Douglass’s book relates his experiences growing up a slave in Maryland and describes the strategies he used to learn to read and write. More than just a personal story of courage, Douglass’s account became a strong testament for the need to abolish slavery.
The “Books That Shaped America” exhibition will be on view from June 25 through Sept. 29 in the Southwest Gallery, located on the second floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C., from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closest Metro is Capitol South on the Orange or Blue Line. This exhibition is supported by the National Book Festival Fund.
On view in the exhibition will be many rare editions from the Library’s Rare Book and Special Collections Division, as well as other related items chosen from various parts of the Library.