Author, abolitionist, political activist, and philosopher, Frederick Douglass was a pivotal figure in the decades of struggle leading up to the Civil War and the Reconstruction era. This inexpensive compilation of his speeches adds vital detail to the portrait of a great historical figure. Featured addresses include "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" which was delivered on July 5, 1852, more than ten years before the Emancipation Proclamation. "Had I the ability, and could reach the nation's ear, I would, today, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke," Douglass assured his listeners, "For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake." Other eloquent and dramatic orations include "Self-Made Men," first delivered in 1859, which defines the principles behind individual success, and "The Church and Prejudice," delivered at the Plymouth County Anti-Slavery Society in 1841.