Special Bicentennial Edition

The Library of Congress named the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave one of the 88 Books That Shaped America. Published in 1845, Douglass’s first autobiography became an instant best seller and, having escaped slavery just seven years earlier, put his life in immediate danger. The Narrative helped change the course of the U.S. Abolitionist Movement in the mid-nineteenth century and has changed the lives of readers ever since.

Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives wants to inspire and empower one million young people to do and be more than they ever dreamed possible. In honor of Douglass’s 200th birthday, we will print and distribute one million hardcover copies of a special Bicentennial Edition of the Narrative. We’ll ask one million students across the country to read the book and, in 2018, the Bicentennial year, participate in meaningful service projects within their communities and internationally. They will also have the opportunity to win gifts, trips and even scholarships.


This special Bicentennial Edition includes editorial contributions from Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives founders, Nettie Washington Douglass, Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., Robert J. Benz and several prominent Douglass scholars and enthusiasts. In addition, we are honored to have one of the country's leading voices on criminal justice reform, Bryan Stevenson, write the book's Introduction. Bryan is the New York Times Bestselling author of Just Mercy and the Founder and Executive Director of Equal Justice Initiative. 

One Million Abolitionists: 

- 1 Million copies of a special Bicentennial Edition of the Narrative
- 1 Million secondary school-aged children receive a free copy of the book
- 100 students will discover a golden stamp in their copy giving them a chance to win gifts
- Essay and oratory contests
- 5 Scholarships of $10,000 each
- One thousand copies are signed by Douglass descendants
- Digital copies of the Narrative are offered free to students
- One Million students participate in community service projects in 2018 

We Need Your Help to Make this Happen

Giving away one million copies of the Narrative will be a challenge that FDFI can't take on alone. Make a tax deductible donation directly to FDFI to help fund the One Million Abolitionists project. Our cost to print, distribute and manage the project is about $4 per book.

Click here and help us bring 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 books or more to young people all over the country.

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