An essential collection of some of the most influential and significant writings by African-American writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this volume includes Frederick Douglass's "Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave" (1845) and excerpts from W.E.B. Du Bois's "The Souls Of Black Folk" (1903), Harriet A. Jacobs's "Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl: Written By Herself" (1861), Booker T. Washington's "Up From Slavery" (1901), and James Weldon Johnston's "The Autobiography Of An Ex-Colored Man" (1912). In his provocative introductory essay, Anthony Appiah explores the roots of African-American literature. He points out that writing itself was an act of rebellion for a population that assumed to be illiterate, and explains the distinctive American literary and cultural context of the time, without which these works cannot be fully understood.
Kwame Anthony Appiah is the author of The Ethics of Identity, Thinking It Through: An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy, The Honor Code, and the prize-winning Cosmopolitanism. Raised in Ghana and educated in England, he has taught philosophy on three continents and is currently a professor at Princeton University.