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 bestseller 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. 


This special Bicentennial Edition includes editorial contributions from Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives founders, Nettie Washington Douglass, Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., and several prominent Douglass scholars and enthusiasts. In addition, we are honored to have Bryan Stevenson, one of the country's leading voices on criminal justice reform, contribute a powerful 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 students will receive a free copy of the book
- 1 Million students will participate in service projects in 2018
- Essay and oratory contests
- One thousand copies are signed by Douglass's descendants
- Digital copies of the Narrative are offered free to students
- Audio copies of the Narrative are offered free to students

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 $6 per book.

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


Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Debra Pendleton
    commented 2017-12-22 14:55:19 -0800
    The Frederick Douglass narrative is the most powerful book I have ever read. I can’t describe the range of emotions that it evokes. I am proud to descend from a race of people that could survive what Mr. Douglass did and came through it strong.

    Debra Pendleton
  • Debra Pendleton
    followed this page 2017-12-22 14:50:36 -0800