William Wells Brown (.. - November 06, 1884)
Died: 6th November, 1884
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Activist
Region: near Lexington, Kentucky, Chelsea, Massachusetts
Notable works: "Clotel", "The Escape; or, A Leap for Freedom"

William Wells Brown Facts

Biography

William Wells Brown, (born 1814?, near Lexington, Ky., U.S.--died Nov. 6, 1884, Chelsea, Mass.), American writer who is considered to be the first African-American to publish a novel. He was also the first to have a play and a travel book published.

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).

Brown's only novel, Clotel (1853), tells the story of the daughters and granddaughters of President Thomas Jefferson and his slave Currer. His only published play is The Escape; or, A Leap for Freedom (1858), a melodrama, with notable comic moments, about two slaves who secretly marry. Brown's historical writings include The Black Man (1863), The Negro in the American Rebellion (1867), and The Rising Son (1873). His final book, My Southern Home (1880), contains miscellanea about slave life, abolitionism, and racism.

Top 6 William Wells Brown quotes

Despotism increases in severity with the number of despots; the responsibility is more divided, and the claims are more numerous.
Claims
Despot
Despotism
Divided
Increases
More
Number
Numerous
Responsibility
Severity
When this boy was brought to Dr. Young, his name being William, the same as mine, my mother was ordered to change mine to something else. This, at the time, I thought to be one of the most cruel acts that could be committed upon my rights.
Acts
Being
Boy
Brought
Change
Committed
Could
Cruel
Dr
Else
His
Mine
Most
Mother
All I demand for the black man is, that the white people shall take their heels off his neck, and let him have a chance to rise by his own efforts.
Black
Chance
Demand
Efforts
Heels
Him
His
Man
Neck
Off
Own
People
Rise
Shall
People don't follow titles, they follow courage.
Courage
Follow
People
Titles
The last struggle for our rights, the battle for our civilization, is entirely with ourselves.
Battle
Civilization
Entirely
Last
Our
Ourselves
Rights
Struggle
I would have the Constitution torn in shreds and scattered to the four winds of heaven. Let us destroy the Constitution and build on its ruins the temple of liberty. I have brothers in slavery. I have seen chains placed on their limbs and beheld them captive.
Brothers
Build
Captive
Chains
Constitution
Destroy
Four
Heaven
Let us
Liberty
Limbs
Placed
Ruins
Scattered

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