In 1911, William Pickens published the first edition of his autobiography, The Heir of Slaves, in which he recounts the experiences that led him into public life and the importance of his education. The narrative discusses his family, the various teachers and mentors who helped guide him, and the incidents and methods by which he accomplished so much. Pickens's later works increasingly demanded the rights of full citizenship for African Americans. Bursting Bonds (1923), the second edition of his autobiography, clearly demonstrates this development by the inclusion of five new chapters on racial tensions. This important work, now back in print, marks a turning point in the evolution of African American autobiography from deference to confrontation.