Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

John S. Gardner at The Guardian:

“Douglass engaged in a lifelong autobiographical quest for a coherent story of ascendance and familial identity,” Blight writes, and “for the healing of his own wounds”. Douglass himself thundered that slavery “converted the mother that bore me into a myth, it shrouded my father in mystery, and left me without an intelligible beginning in the world”. He yearned for “a bright gleam of a mother’s love”.

This is a monumental book, a definitive biography, rich with the biblical cadences that filled Douglass’ life and imagination. Slavery, redemption, vengeance, justice: these were Douglass’ themes, and like Jeremiah he would be a prophet to an often recalcitrant people. The lecture halls expected no less yet Douglass gave them more, probing new depths of social and political analysis, constantly imploring greater exertion for the causes of emancipation and full equality, unafraid to make his hearers deeply uncomfortable.

more here.