Clotel, or, The President's Daughter

William Wells BROWN (1814 - 1884)

Clotel; or, The President's Daughter is a novel by William Wells Brown (1814-84), a fugitive from slavery and abolitionist and was published in London, England in December 1853. It is often considered the first African-American novel. This novel focuses on the difficult lives of mulattoes in America and the "degraded and immoral condition of the relation of master and slave in the USA" (Brown). It is about the tragic lives of Currer, Althesea, and Clotel. In the novel, Currer is the former mulatto mistress of President Thomas Jefferson who together have two daughters, Althesea and Clotel. Because she was beautiful and the mistress of Jefferson, Currer and her daughters lived a confortable life, this changed when her master passes away. In the end, Currer and Althesea are auctioned to the notorious slave trader, Dick Walker. Clotel is bought by her lover Horatio Green. The separation of these three women is just the beginning of the injustices they face.

It gained notoriety amid the unconfirmed rumors regarding Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings. Brown was still considered someone else's legal property within the borders of the United States at the time of its publication. It is considered to be the first novel written by an African American.

Brown used the injustices of slavery to demonstrate the destructive effects it had on the African American family, most significantly the so-called tragic mulatto. Brown had escaped from slavery in Kentucky while still in his youth, and became active on the anti-slavery circuit.

(Summary from Wikipedia)

Genre(s): Historical Fiction

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 00 - Memoir of the Author Andrew Symons
00:03:22
Play 01 01 - The Negro Sale Andrew Symons
00:17:29
Play 02 02 - Going to the South Betsie Bush
00:13:53
Play 03 03 - The Negro Chase Amy Gramour
00:10:03
Play 04 04 - The Quadroon's Home Amy Gramour
00:06:02
Play 05 05 - The Slave Master Amy Gramour
00:06:45
Play 06 06 - The Religious Teacher Amy Gramour
00:25:44
Play 07 07 - The Poor Whites, South Amy Gramour
00:10:34
Play 08 08 - The Separation Amy Gramour
00:09:05
Play 09 09- The Man of Honor Amy Gramour
00:03:16
Play 10 10- The Young Christian Tim Ferreira
00:13:00
Play 11 11- The Parson Poet Amy Gramour
00:06:15
Play 12 12- A Night in the Parson's Kitchen Amy Gramour
00:10:10
Play 13 13- A Slave Hunt Amy Gramour
00:11:14
Play 14 14- A Free Woman Reduced to Slavery Amy Gramour
00:06:45
Play 15 15- Today a Mistress,Tomorrow a Slave Amy Gramour
00:05:55
Play 16 16- Death of the Parson Amy Gramour
00:09:20
Play 17 17- Retaliation Amy Gramour
00:05:12
Play 18 18- The Liberator Amy Gramour
00:13:37
Play 19 19- Escape of Clotel Cate Barratt
00:25:40
Play 20 20- A True Democrat Amy Gramour
00:08:45
Play 21 21- The Christian's Death Amy Gramour
00:13:26
Play 22 22- A Ride in a Stage Coach Amy Gramour
00:21:19
Play 23 23- Truth Stranger Than Fiction Amy Gramour
00:12:02
Play 24 24- The Arrest Guero
00:09:36
Play 25 25- Death is Freedom Guero
00:10:49
Play 26 26- The Escape Amy Gramour
00:16:33
Play 27 27- The Mystery Amy Gramour
00:06:44
Play 28 28-29-The Happy Meeting and The Conclusion Amy Gramour
00:18:35