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Narrative of William W. Brown, an American Slave

Brown, William W.

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ISBN 10: 1502360314 / ISBN 13: 9781502360311
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014
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Title: Narrative of William W. Brown, an American ...

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Publication Date: 2014

Book Condition: Good

About this title


This is a slave narrative written in the mid-19th century before the Civil War. From the preface: " THE present Narrative was first published in Boston, (U.S.) in July, 1847, and eight thousand copies were sold in less than eighteen months from the time of its publication. This rapid sale may be attributed to the circumstance, that for three years preceding its publication, I had been employed as a lecturing agent by the American Anti-slavery Society; and I was thus very generally known throughout the Free States of the Great Republic, as one who had spent the first twenty years of his life as a slave, in her southern house of bondage. In visiting Great Britain I had two objects in view. Firstly, I have been chosen as a delegate by "the American Peace Committee for a Congress of Nations," to attend the Peace Convention to be held in Paris during the last week of the present month, (August, 1849.) Many of the most distinguished American Abolitionists considered it a triumphant evidence of the progress of their principles, that one of the oppressed coloured race -- one who is even now, by the constitution of the United States, a slave -- should have been selected for this honourable office; and were therefore very desirous that I should attend. Secondly, I wished to follow up the work of my friends and fellow-labourers,Charles Lenox Remond and Frederick Douglas, and to lay before the people of Great Britain and Ireland the wrongs that are still committed upon the slaves and the free coloured people of America. The rapid increase of communication between the two sides of the Atlantic has brought them so close together, that the personal intercourse between the British people and American slaveowners is now very great; and the slaveholder, crafty and politic, as deliberate tyrants generally are, rarely leaves the shores of Europe without attempting at least to assuage the prevalent hostility against his beloved "peculiar institution." The influence of the Southern States of America is mainly directed to the maintenance and propagation of the system of slavery in their own and in other countries. In the pursuit of this object, every consideration of religion, liberty, national strength, and social order is made to give way, and hitherto they have been very successful. The actual number of the slaveholders is small, but their union is complete, so that they form a dominant oligarchy in the United States. It is my desire, in common with every abolitionist, to diminish their influence, and this can only be effected by the promulgation of truth, and the cultivation of a correct public sentiment at home and abroad. Slavery cannot be let alone. It is aggressive, and must either be succumbed to, or put down. It has been suggested that my narrative is somewhat deficient in dates. From my total want of education previous to my escape from slavery, I am unable to give them with much accuracy. The ignorance of the American slaves is, with rare exceptions, intense; and the slaveholders generally do their utmost to perpetuate this mental darkness. The perpetuation of slavery depends upon it. Whatever may be said of the physical condition of the slaves, it is undeniable that if they were not kept in a state of intellectual, religious, and moral degradation, they could be retained as slaves no longer."

About the Author:

William Wells Brown (1814-1884) escaped slavery in 1834 and became a well-known abolitionist and author; he is perhaps best known for his novel Clotel, the first novel published by an African-American in the United States.

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