Abolitionist Literature

Alyssa Braddom, Janae Nichols, Nick Romeo, and Donna Danyali

Fredrick Douglas

· Douglas realized that the ability to read would be the key to his freedom. In Baltimore he came in to contact with the black preachers and taught in the Sabbath School in Baltimore. Here he refined his reading, writing, and speaking skills.

· For sixteen years he edited an influential black newspaper and achieved international fame as an orator and writer of great persuasive power.

· In the 1850s he broke with the strictly moralist brand of abolitionism led by William Lloyd Garrison; he supported the early women’s rights movement; and he gave direct assistance to John Brown’s conspiracy that led to the raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859.

· Douglas served as the advisor to presidents. Abraham Lincoln referred to him as the most meritorious man of the nineteenth century.

· Organized sunday school and taught other slaves how to read and write.

· Fredrick Douglas wrote an autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, in 1845. This became a best-seller and showed others the harsh reality behind slavery.

· Became a speaker for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society.

· Though he was too old to serve in battle, himself he recruited other African Americans to fight in the Union Army, including two of his sons, who served with the famous 54th Massachusetts. Away from the fighting Douglass continued to write and speak against slavery, arguing for a higher purpose to the war.

· Following the end of the civil war, he moved from Rochester to Washington, D.C., serving as the U.S. Marshall for the District of Columbia, the District's Registrar of Deeds, and the U.S. Minister to Haiti and Charge d'Affaires to the Dominican Republic.

· After returning to the US, Douglass started publishing his first abolitionist newspaper, the The North Star, from the basement of the Memorial AME Zion Church in Rochester. The The North Star's motto was "Right is of no Sex – Truth is of no Color – God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren."



Uncle Tom's Cabin


Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe was born in 1811 and died in 1896. She came from a religious family and was most famous for her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. It's depicted the hardships of African Americans under slavery. She lived in Cincinnati for a while at a young age, so she witnessed many of the Cincinnati riots, which resulted in many African Americans injuries and deaths. Has experience this most of her life which gave her first hand knowledge to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin.



Harriet, herself, was an abolitionist. In writing her novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, she exposed the true horrors of slavery through Uncle Tom, and through the hardships he experienced. Stowe talks mainly of the evil and immorality of slavery, and emphasized the redeemable qualities found through Christianity. She spoke directly about the inhumanity involved in slavery, and the possibility to be redeemed through Christianity. Stowe takes an aggressive approach throughout the book in order to effectively achieve the reaction she wanted from the book.


Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Stowe, was a novel that depicted all of the gruesome realities that were happening to African Americans in slavery. The people read this book and realized that what was going on was inhuman. It inspired people to make a change in what was happening. Stowe’s novel was very important because it made people stop and think about what was happening. It also helped start a cause for putting a stop to slavery.


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A Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper, from American Slavery

Part 1:

Moses was the son of a mulatto house servant and her master. Throughout his life, Moses was sold or traded from master to master throughout the South. In 1833, Roper was sold to a Florida trader who went bankrupt, which sent Roper on a ship to New York. While anchored, Roper jumped ship and ran to freedom. Roper moved to Boston where he began his work with abolitionists by signing the constitution of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Fearful of arrest, Roper returned to slavery and worked aboard a vessel headed for England. In England, many British abolitionists helped Roper. They gave him an education and Roper went on to attend many meetings and give speeches on his slave experiences.

Part 2


One unique feature of Roper's Narrative is its frank discussion of how this light skin tone sometimes enables him to "pass"—to be identified as a white/Native American man rather than an enslaved black man—in order to avoid capture and re-enslavement. Roper shares the struggle of being re-sold to many different owners, often displaying a vivid picture of slavery in the minds of readers everywhere. The closing sections of the Narrative, which reassert his desire to free his family, make it clear that Roper saw the anti-slavery efforts to which he dedicated his life as a way of fulfilling that promise.

Part 3

Moses Roper was inspired and motivated by the British abolitionists who helped pay for his education. Roper also got to attend the University College in London with the help of Dr. Franics Cos and British patrons. Roper says that his motivation to write his Narrative did "not arise from any desire to make [himself] conspicuous," but rather from a desire to expose "the cruel system of slavery".

Part 4


Roper’s Narrative is known to be one of the most empowering pieces of slave literature due to it’s ability to shed light on the horrors of slavery. This was a very inspiring navel to many people because it gave first hand experience of slavery.




These abolitionist leaders and their pieces help to inspire a change in the people's values, politics, and society by showing them the harsh reality of slavery. Frederick Douglas gave people insight on how a slave views the celebrations of the country. Douglas traveled the country spreading his ideas by taking important positions and giving speeches. Douglas also started the first abolitionist newspaper, The North Star, which spread anti-slavery views to the population. As people read the newspaper they could start to understand the life that a former slave had to go through. The paper also spreads around the idea that slavery is inhumane. In addition, the articles get the readers talking which causes the ideas to spread even further. Harriet Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin to show people how inhumane slavery was. The novel made people stop and think about the horrors of slavery and inspired them to make a change. Moses Roper was given the resources to succeed by the British Abolitionists who helped pay for his education. Moses used what he learned to help educate others on his experiences and the inhumane nature of slavery. His spread his ideas by giving speeches to masses of people and attending meetings. Just as the other two abolitionists, Roper sheds light on the evils of slavery through his narrative, A Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper, from American Slavery. Through his narrative and speeches to crowds he spreads his abolitionist ideas and encourages people to change their ways and views. All these individuals helped to spread ideas and change society's perception of slavery. American values were changed to believe more and more that African Americans should be treated more fairly. The idea to outlaw slavery was facilitated by all these individual's persistence and hard work.