Slavery Anecdotes About Slavery

639 Words2 Pages

Douglass's humiliating anecdotes about slavery create sympathy for people held in bondage. Slaves were punished by whipping, hanging, branding, beating, or burning. Punishment was most often dole out in response to disobedience or perceived error. Since the government allowed it, slaves suffered dramatic physical abuse during and outside of work. One of the most common instruments used against a slave was the whip. Slaves were punished for a number of reasons: breaking a rule, working too casually, or leaving the plantation without permission. Most states did not allow slaves from holding religious activities for fear that these meetings could facilitate communication and later lead to rebellion. Frederick Douglass (1995), states, “Our food was coarse corn meal boiled, which was called mush. It was put into a large wooden tray or trough, and set down upon the ground. The children were then called, like so many pigs, and like so many pigs they would come and devour the mush; some with oyster-shells, others with pieces of shingle, some with naked hands, and none with spoons. He that ate fastest got most; he that was strongest secured the best place; and few left the trough satisfied" (Chapter 5, page 1). This clearly indicates how children were treated like animals and their inability to act in the presence of a normal educated child. Douglass states, "I was broken in body, soul, and spirit. My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect languished, the disposition to read departed, and the cheerful spark that lingered about my eye died; the dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into a brute!" (Chapter 10) Douglass makes it clear that slavery weakens a man, and makes him surrender his manhood. Accor... ... middle of paper ... ...ue to his talents as an orator and a writer. All this overwhelming attention put him at high risk. Douglass went to England where he continued to fight for the cause; because he was afraid his old master would reclaim him and return him to enslavement. He was eventually allowed to return to the United States because some fellow abolitionist bought his freedom. He started writing an anti-slavery newspaper known as the North Star. It got this name because whenever slaves would escape they would follow the North Star, which they knew if they followed it would lead them to freedom. Douglass served as an example to all who doubted the ability of African Americans to function as free citizens. Frederick Douglass describes the brutality of slavery through the description he tells to admonish the North of the South’s barbarity and to further the abolitionist operation.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how douglass' humiliating anecdotes about slavery create sympathy for people held in bondage. slaves were punished by whipping, hanging, branding, beating, or burning.
  • Explains how the enslaved african-american body became a powerful emblem of the south. slave masters treated their slaves with kindness and even gave them an education.
Show More
Open Document