Book Written During Slavery Is Donated for “Generations to Come”

Book Written During Slavery Is Donated for “Generations to Come”

Jeffery M. Leving donates Frederick Douglass’ 156-year-old book to Chicago State University.

Published May 19, 2011


(Photo: Penguin Classics)

For nearly all African-Americans alive today, slavery is unimaginable. Remnants of history, however, allow us to take a glimpse into the lives that once affected an entire race. 


“Nearly all the plantations or farms in the vicinity of the ‘home plantation’ of Col. Lloyd, belong to him; and those which do not, are owned by personal friends of his, as deeply interested in maintaining the slave system, in all its rigor, as Col. Lloyd himself. Some of his neighbors are said to be even more stringent than he,” writes Fredrick Douglass.


Today the over 150-year-old book in which he wrote those words was donated to the Chicago State University Foundation by civil rights attorney and historian Jeffery M. Leving.


Leving owned the original 1855 edition of My Bondage and My Freedom.


Leving also collects various documents and artifacts from African-American history. He also serves as a contributor to  


"We are excited to welcome such an important piece of both African-American and national history to our educational environment. We would like to thank Mr. Leving for allowing our students to have a different perspective on slavery rooted in a strong historical document," said Dr. William Martin of Chicago State University.


Fredrick Douglass became an abolitionist leader after escaping from slavery. He wrote several autobiographies including Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Many found it hard to believe that he had been a slave.


 "Education is the key to understanding. I am excited to share a piece of history with a university that deserves to house it, learn from it, and educate generations to come," Leving said.

Written by Danielle Wright


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