This is a collection of the best new scholarship on the life and writings of Douglass, the most important and influential black American of the nineteenth century. As a result of the development of new methodologies of research and interpretation in both literary and historical studies, Frederick Douglass has assumed a central place in the current revival of interest in the multicultural study of American literature. His autobiographies are fundamental case studies of the slave narratives that form the basis of African-American culture, and his remarkable achievements as abolitionist orator, journalist, and writer of fiction and historical essays have made him a pivotal figure in a variety of disciplines. With topics that range from the evidence of African cultural survival during slavery to the modern civil rights movement, this collection of fourteen essays by America's leading historians and literary critics re-evaluates the importance of Douglass in his own day and on into the twentieth century. The essays examine Douglass' own views on gender and class, as well as racial issues, and place his thought and writings in the context of debates about slavery and freedom that dominated the intellectual landscape of nineteenth-century America.