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In his slave narrative, William Wells Brown assailed the prevailing notion of his time that slaves lacked legal or historical selfhood. His autobiography asserts that he has an autonomous identity.


Brown was born to a black slave mother and a white slaveholding father. He grew up near St. Louis, Mo., where he served various masters, including the abolitionist Elijah P. Lovejoy. Brown escaped in 1834 and adopted the name of a Quaker, Wells Brown, who aided him when he was a runaway. He settled in the Great Lakes region before moving to the Boston area. In 1847 his popular autobiography Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave was published. Its highly dramatic content is set forth in a remarkably detached style. Having educated himself, Brown began lecturing on abolitionism and temperance reform. His antislavery lectures in Europe inspired Three Years in Europe (1852), which was expanded as The American Fugitive in Europe (1855).


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  • William Wells Brown

  • ePub and Mobi files included

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