Education in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

758 Words4 Pages
During Frederick Douglass' time, African Americans were not given the same privileges as Caucasian-Americans. This is due to slavery that was common during this time. They were not given the same foods as Caucasians. They were not given the same job opportunities as Caucasians. Finally, they weren't given the education that Caucasians received. Education is arguably important, but it should not be taken for granted, as it wasn't given to many different groups. The famous saying spoken by Francis Bacon, “Knowledge is power,” holds many elements of truth, especially in the life of the author of this autobiography. To summarize, the statement, “Ignorance is Bliss,” is an irrelevant statement in its entirety. Education was considered precious during the 1860s. Concerning this, Frederick Douglass was taught by his master, Mrs. Auld. This practice was unfortunately stopped due to Thomas Auld's belief that, “Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world” (Douglass 20). What he means by saying that was that Afro-American slaves should be able to follow directions without question. If a slave gained knowledge, they would question the orders of the master, at their expense as well. In Mr. Auld's argument against slaves learning includes the statement that, “a nigger should know nothing but obey his master – to do as he is told” (Douglass 20). This demonstrates that even though they were denied an formal education, they still learned the essentials in order to be a functional slave. T. H. Huxley, referring to the status of education, wrote in his speech entitled, “A Liberal Education,” that, “in strictness, there is no such thing as an uneducated man.” (Huxley 1). Not only did Douglass find education important, but their masters also ... ... middle of paper ... ...voice the injustices of the South. They were also able to escape their hardship in an easier manner, since they were enlightened. It played a key role in Frederick Douglass' life. Therefore, in the end, education is and will always be deemed important in the course of history. Works Cited Bacon, Francis. "Of Studies." Thesis. 1625. "Of Studies," by Francis Bacon - Classic Essays -parallel Structures. About.com. Web. 28 Apr. 2014. Bulwer-Lytton, Edward "Readers and Writers." Classic American and British Essays and Speeches. About.com. 28 Apr 2014 Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. New York: Dover Publications, 1995. Print. Huxley, Thomas Henry. A Liberal Education. Girard, Kan.: Haldeman-Julius, 1924. Print.
Open Document