Skip to main content

[Review of Frederick Douglass]

FREDERICK DOUGLASS. By Charles W. Chesnutt. Boston: Small, Maynard & Co. (Beacon Biographies Series.)

That Frederick Douglass was the greatest man the colored race has produced in America goes without saying, but he was also one of the world's great men, and, therefore, deserves a conspicuous place in the Beacon Biographies. Henry Wilson says of him: "His life is, in itself, an epic which finds few to equal it in the realms of either romance or reality." Of course, in a small volume like this it is impossible to do more than touch upon the salient features of a career so long and varied as that of Douglass, to suggest the respects in which he influenced the course of events in his lifetime, and to epitomize for the readers of another generation the judgment of his contemporaries as to his genius and character; but all this Mr. Chesnutt has done clearly and interestingly. Douglass' career from slavery to Minister of the United States to Hayti, his wonderful work during the Civil War, his impressive oratory, his excellent literary work, and many other things, are briefly but succinctly told, and the book ought to be appreciated by white readers just as much as it certainly will be by colored ones.