Rare African-American Literature

The Rare American Literary Authors collection contains a number of works by important African-American writers, dating from the era of slavery to the Harlem Renaissance. In honor of Black History month, we highlight three titles from our holdings:

Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave (Boston, 1845)
Douglass, an orator, journalist, and activist who escaped from slavery as a young man, published three versions of his autobiography during his lifetime. Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass is the first and best-known of these works.

Booker T. Washington, Up from slavery: an autobiography (Garden City, NY, 1901)
Washington was a prominent educator and political leader in the post-Reconstruction South. A member of the last generation of black leaders to be born into slavery, Washington was the first director of the Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University.  BYU’s copy is inscribed by Washington.

Angelina Weld Grimké, Rachel: a play in three acts (Boston, 1920)
Grimké was a poet, playwright, and journalist. Rachel was one of the first dramas by an African-American woman. Written in protest of D.W. Griffith’s film The Birth of a Nation, the play was performed by an all-black cast in Washington, D.C. in 1916.

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