The Narrative in the Life of Frederick Douglas, An American Slave

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Along with family and religion, education is one of the most important aspects in society. Fredrick Douglass realized the importance of a good education by learning to read and later becoming a writer, author and advocate of African Americans, women, and many others. In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, we learn the significance and importance of Douglass learning to read, the affect the institution of slavery had on both whites and blacks, and why learning to read threatened the institution of slavery in general.

It was important for Frederick Douglass to learn to read because he could teach other slaves to read. In the excerpt, Douglass states, “Mistress, in teaching me the alphabet, had given me the inch, and no precaution could prevent me from taking the ell”(80). Knowledge was dangerous at this point in time. When Douglass taught slaves to read, he helped them gain some knowledge of themselves. He could also gain knowledge that his slave master did not want him to know such as roads or things that could aid in his escape. Douglass being able to read was significant because it made him an empowered black man. If Frederick Douglass never learned to read, he would not have been the political activist he was. He would have probably never escaped nor would he have shared the knowledge he gained.

The institution of slavery affected both blacks as well as whites. The white and black children could not understand why they could not be friends with each other. Douglass spoke well of the white boys that he became acquainted with because they were not as knowledgeable as the adults so he was able to create a relationship with them. No one is born prejudiced. A person must be taught those ways, so Do...

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... still highly important. A lot of people take education for granted because they do not fully grasp the fact that people before us died to give us what we have. Having an education not only benefits one but also greatly influences the future of our society. An educated population represents a strong nation. Ignorance is one of the greatest tools used against us. Slave owners wanted to keep slaves ignorant to the facts, but Douglass had a vision for himself and future generations. Frederick Douglass understood this, and he also understood the value of an education. Education determines a person’s future outcomes. How can one expect to compete and be successful in todays world without an education? Not having an education amounts to still be under the control of others. Even though Douglass was from a different era of time, his values and virtues still stand true.
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