University of the Wisconsin in Madison
One of the remarkable historian and prolific authors of all time was Benjamin Arthur Quarles. He has done significant contribution in print, and one of his interesting works was the book about the biography of Frederick Douglass with the same title. Quarles was fascinated about black history particularly Black Americans History, American Revolution, and the participation of the blacks in the abolitionist movement. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Shaw University while he got his master’s degree and Ph. D both at the University of the Wisconsin in Madison.
He also became a history instructor at Shaw University, a professor and dean at Dillard University, and became a department head of the Morgan State University. Having those personal backgrounds and credentials, Quarles was believably capable of writing historical pieces and biographies such as this. Some of his books were Negro in the Civil War, Lincoln and the Negro, The Negro in the American Revolution, Black Mosaic, The Black Abolitionists, The Negro in the Making of America, and the Allies for Freedom.
Summary Benjamin Quarles made a narrative account on the life of Frederick Douglass in this magnificent book. With his usage of modern English language having the light approach as his genre, he made the book readable and comprehensive. The book was basically an account of true-to-life rags to riches story of Frederick Douglass highlighting his being a no read no write slave to an influential man who penetrated government positions thrice, and his escapades.
Quarles tackled Frederick Douglass early life being a child of a black slave mother and an unknown white American father as vivid as he could, and covered experiences such as hardships and brutality of black slavery in US. He also wrote briefly the dramatic escape of Douglass from slavery that would make the audience mesmerize because Douglass was not only attempted to escape once but twice. He failed on the first attempt but succeeded on the second.
Some focal point that the author depicted on the book was Douglass’ travels to Great Britain where in he was suspected as being captured and re-enslaved as the place during that time was the center of black slavery in Europe. Another highlight that made the book interesting was the illustration of Frederick Douglass’ personality. It covered the life of Douglass in the political arena and focused merely on how he became presidential favorites and earned major spots in the government.
His rational vigilance and contribution in the African-American movements became significant on which he was the spokesman. Analysis As Benjamin Quarles brought about Frederick Douglass’ biography and his impact on the modern society involving his past experiences as a slave and as a notable freeman, there is no room whatsoever to trace any form of biases. Although it was mostly describe Douglass life in his own perspective, the author’s intention to come up factual based story has successfully accomplished as expected.
Unfolding Douglass’ life as a writer, orator, editor and fighter of anti-slavery movement in Quarles’ book as well as noting some of the factual events such as the women suffrage, Civil Rights Movement, Emancipation period and Reconstruction Era as what other historical books including textbooks have discussed gave the fair chronological information in accordance with our history. Conclusion To conclude this book review, I would say that the book of Benjamin Arthur Quarles entitled Frederick Douglas was one of the informative books covering Africa-American history that I have ever read.
It was very open and did not put things in complex which made the book quite easy to comprehend. Moreover, contents of this text might be a big help for students, teachers and co-historians as it could be considered one of the important and helpful educational materials for historical study and research. Hence, the author did a great job in this narrative, and the book would always be recommendable to read.
R E F E R E N C E
Quarles, Benjamin Arthur. 1948. Frederick Douglass. Washington: Associated Publishers.