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This chapter examines Frederick Douglass embodying “ART” and “FACTS.” Abolitionist James McCune Smith considers whether Douglass receives his intellect from his black mother, Harriet Bailey, or unknown white father. Bailey is construed as “the only one of all the slaves and colored people in Tuckahoe” who could read, just as Betsy Bailey, Douglass's grandmother, “could so intelligently read a river or the furrow of a field” despite her “illiteracy.” The chapter argues that Dougless is the literary manifestation of his matrilineage such that his first and second autobiographies formally arrive as maternal elegies, in the same way elegies about him project maternity.

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