Abolitionist Literature

Kevin Hoodwin, Farzin Amiri, Claire Gilmore

The Legacy of Frederick Douglass

An Introduction to Frederick Douglass

  • Douglass was born enslaved around 1818 in Talbot County, Maryland.
  • During the time of his enslavement, while living with Hugh and Sophia Auld in Baltimore, Sophia taught Douglass how to read, much to the dissent of her husband.
  • After reading as many newspapers and as much political literature as he could get his hands on, Douglass formed many ideas involving abolition and human rights. His exposure to the literature resulted in his strong political ideas.
  • While working for William Freeland, Douglass taught up for 40 slaves how to read the New Testament.
  • While enslaved by Edward Covey, Douglass almost hit rock bottom. Douglass later beat Covey in a brawl, resulting in his further feelings of freedom.
  • The collective experiences of slavery resulted in Douglass's desire to be an advocate for abolitionism upon his freedom.
  • Anna Murray, who helped Douglass escape to freedom, married Douglass in 1838.
  • William Lloyd Garrison, an abolitionist, convinced Douglass to write his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave in 1845. This autobiography impacted many with its honest and real account of slavery.
  • After fleeing to Ireland to avoid recapture, Douglass witnessed the Irish Potato Famine. After speaking to large crowds of citizens about the horrors of American Slavery, funds by Irish and British benefactors bought Douglass his legal freedom.
  • Douglass not only avidly supported the abolitionist movement, but also the women's rights movement as he believed that all should be free. His tireless effort to the freedom and equality of all resulted in the awareness of not only his cause, but many others.




Big image

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Biography Harriet Beecher Stowe:

-June 14 1811 - July 1 1896

-Her father, Lyman Beecher, was was a religious leader in Litchfield Connecticut

-She attended formal schooling, originally exclusive to young boys.

-At 21 she moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where she became more involved in the abolition movement.

-Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin in response to the passing of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850-1851.

-Uncle Tom's Cabin helped start the Civil War by telling the story of slavery through the slave's' point of view. Southerners hated the book because it threatened to take away their way of life, while Northerners used the book to fuel the abolition movement. Stowe's abolitionist stance is heavily present throughout the story.


Uncle Tom's Cabin tells the story of a slave through the eyes of a slave. The slave is, Uncle Tom, life is described as brutal and inhumane. This book shows the harsh nature of Southern slave owners and demonstrates many negatives about slavery. The abolition movement was strongly reinforced when Stowe published this book; many people even argue that it helped start the Civil War. The Northern states, who were previously clueless to slave life, we're made aware of the harsh lives many slaves were forced to endure. This opened the eyes and hearts of many northern Americans to take actions in abolishing slavery.


Uncle Tom's Cabin helped to change American values in that many Americans began to think about slaves as people instead of property. This was a vital step in abolition movements. Politics was divided between those for and against slavery. This book was the catalyst for the division between North and South resulting in a major societal change because slaves were no longer just a part of the economy, but were a part of the entire American population. By humanizing slaves, ignorance to the cause was made difficult.



Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was a really active slave narrative which made a difference, she was an active member of the abolitionist, she was also a Union spy which makes her life interesting. She was a slave which just didn't accept being a slave, she escaped many times, and proving she cared about other slaves, she helped a lot of slaves escape too. She was injured in her childhood, making her be dizzy and in extreme cases sometimes faint. This makes her even more impressing, doing so much for her country.

“Moses” her alternate name,was very important in the abolitionist movement because the piece really gave the reader the sense of being a slave, which brought the reader to the conclusions Tubman wanted to convey. "I was a stranger in a strange land," the thought of not having an identity was portrayed a lot in the book. After reading this, many people started to question the system in the south.
Tubman was mostly motivated by the hard conditions slaves were working in, but there was one really crucial person that she met in her adolescence. She saw her friend get her family separated in front of her eyes. She talks about this in her first book and how she gets inspired to make something like the underground railroad.

Tubman really influenced some of our American values by stating how the idea of not having identity and being in really harsh conditions is awful, and this starts to spark some big changes in people's ideologies. She talked about how politicians are being scandalous and being bribed. which brings some Americans to think differently about their system and knowing that there might be some corruptions involved.


Abolitionist literature and beliefs influenced the American population in that they brought to light a controversial topic typically unspoken of on political and social platforms. The works of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Harriet Tubman gave honest and raw depictions of American slavery. By humanizing the slaves through first person accounts like those of Douglass and Tubman, and fictional accounts like that of Stowe, the reality and tragedy of the situation was vividly emblazoned into the minds of those who read their works. Their accounts set fire to the reality and desperation of the slavery situation and the need for abolition resulting in more conversation about and aid to those impacted, as well as the final emancipation in 1864.