The Pros And Cons Of The Dehumanization Of Slavery By Frederick Douglass

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The Emancipation Proclamation ended the enslavement of African-Americans in 1863. While slaves were now free of the hardships concerning forced labor and total domination, some believed that slavery was a better life style compared to freedom. The Great Depression introduced new, and what seemed like more difficult, adversities former slaves were left to tackle without any assistance. Frederick Douglass’ 1845 Narrative exemplifies some of the true “pros” and cons of slavery. The convenient accommodations of slavery supported the wrongful, ethical view that African – Americans were better off enslaved. The Great Depression brought a whole new wave of poverty in the 1930’s for the average African – American. The white population was subjected…show more content…
Douglass describes the hardships of two other emaciated city slaves whom were severely mistreated daily. “I have seen Mary contending with the pigs for the offal thrown into the street.” (Douglass 332) This is a vivid example of the dehumanization of slavery: A human competing with one of the nastiest animals for raw organs, that are considered waste material, as food. Severe beatings from evil masters were very repetitive. In his narrative, Douglass states how harsh a plantation slaveholder was toward his slaves. “He is a desperate slaveholder, who will shock the humanity of his nonslaveholding neighbors with the cries of his lacerated slave.” (Douglass 331) Masters were extremely cruel with their punishments of the smallest…show more content…
Douglass recalls his grandmother being a very important factor on the plantation. She had served the old master his entire life. “She had been the source of all his wealth; she had peopled his planation with slaves; she had become a great grandmother in his service.” (Douglass 338) Her servility over the years deserved great respect. “She was nevertheless left a slave - a slave for life…” (Douglass 338) Douglass’ grandmother’s many contributions went unnoticed because of her social ranking as a slave. As she grew older, and was unable to work, they simply placed her in a small hut alone to die. “… then made her welcome to the privilege of supporting herself there in perfect loneliness; thus virtually turning her out to die!” (Douglass 338) During her most vulnerable time, Douglass’ grandmother was left to die with no honor or appreciation, just like many other slaves. The force of a slave to be illiterate is one of the many negative aspects enslavement had to offer. The mind was constantly belittled to make slavery seem righteous. This may have been one of the causes that led African – Americans to actually believe during the Great Depression life was better for them under slavery. The mental capacity of many interviewees only went as far as a slavery allowed, which is nowhere. Therefore, the routines of slavery were the ideal life compared to the daily struggles to survive during the
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