Drawing on Frederick Douglass’ own words, this graphic novel tells the story of one man’s journey from the bondages of slavery to free, well-respected, and sought-after orator fighting for equality until the end of his life.
Readers see Douglass, the child of an enslaved mother whom he only saw a few short times in his life, with no knowledge of his actual birth date or father’s identity, being left at the plantation’s great house by his grandmother, starved by a tyrannical overseer, and sold by multiple owners. A moment of benevolence by one owner’s wife led to Frederick’s being taught to read, which proved to be the key to his liberation. Placing Douglass in historical context, the book tells readers of his support of black troops during the Civil War, his rallying for women and the vote (despite the racism of some white suffragists), his advocacy of the rights of Native Americans and Chinese immigrants, and his mentoring of anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells, and it also sheds light on intimate family relationships. The high-quality sources and extensive research lend this book an authenticity which precludes any denial of the cruelty, dehumanization, and intergenerational violence of slavery. The clear, expressive color illustrations simultaneously put faces to the characters as well as softening the blows of some of the more graphic moments in Frederick’s life, making it more palatable for a younger audience.
Powerful and engaging. (cast of characters, timeline, historical notes, sources, index) (Graphic biography. 12-18)