Upon its publication in 1901, Up From Slavery became the most influential book written by an African American. As one of a handful of classic American autobiographies, its place in the literary and historical canons is assured. This Norton Critical Edition includes as its text the first book edition, published by Doubleday, Page and Company. The text is fully annotated and includes the index that appended the first book edition.
"Contexts and Composition History" includes a selection of letters between Washington and his editor, Lyman Abbott, that reveals the process by which Up From Slavery was planned and written. Reviews from The Nation, North American Review, and Colored American Magazine offer examples of contemporary reaction to the book. An excerpt from My Larger Education includes Washington's impressions of Frederick Douglass and of his African American critics (among them W. E. B. Du Bois) and reveals his reaction to the mounting criticism of his social, economic, and political programs during the last years of his life.
"Criticism" offers a collection of eight essays that present a variety of perspectives on Up From Slavery by W. E. B. Du Bois, Kelly Miller, August Meier, Louis R. Harlan, Sidonie Smith, James M. Cox, Houston A. Baker, Jr., and William L. Andrews. Together, these essays represent ninety years of the best critical and historical analysis of Up From Slavery and its author.
A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are included.