Frederick Douglass

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In 1845, Frederick Douglass published a narrative will be remembered in history forever. Douglass’ narrative is a recount of the tough life on the plantations before his escape to New York. He describes in this narrative the senseless acts of cruelty on the part of the masters as well as the debased lives of the slaves. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave provides a powerful account of the role of ignorance of slavery, the damaging effects on slaves and slaveholders, and the knowledge to the path of freedom for African Americans. Frederick Douglass was born in a slave cabin, in February, 1818, close to the town of Easton, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. (Bio of FD, 1) Frederick Douglass, whose full name is Frederick Augustus Washington Baily, was abandoned by his mother when he was just a baby and then was raised by his grandparents. Douglass never knew his father and according to him and nearly everyone, "…opinion was also whispered that my master was my father” his father figure was a white man ( NLOFD, 1). When Douglass was around the age of six, his grandmother took him to the plantation of his master and left him there. (Bio of FD, 1) He stayed there with his master for about two years then he was relocated around the age of eight where he was sent to Baltimore to live as a houseboy with Hugh and Sophia Auld, relatives of his master. Not long after his arrival his new mistress taught him the alphabet. The lessons soon came to a cease when Hugh said “learning will spoil the best nigger in the world” (Foner, 17). When her husband forbade her to continue her instruction, because it was unlawful to teach slaves how to read, Frederick took it upon himself to learn. This marked the turning point when Frederick Douglass started to become a man. Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave was written to expose the ignorance of slavery, the damaging effects on slaves and slaveholders. Douglass wanted to show the world his story and point of view throughout his journey through slavery. The novel lets the readers feel the cruelty and hardship of Douglass’ life. The narrative goes from his early childhood, to when he escaped to freedom, to his role in the abolitionist movement. When Douglass was a young boy, he witnesses for the first time his aunt, a slave, getting whipped.
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