Douglass’s struggles to become a literate man began, as he was a slave of Master Hugh’s family. This is the time period where he learned to read and write. His mistress, who was a compassionate lady, was secretly teaching Douglass behind her husband’s back. She sparked Douglass’s desire to become a literate person. Mrs. Hugh taught him the alphabet and, soon after, her husband found out what she had done. He explained that teaching a slave put their family in a dangerous situation and she became harsher than her husband. Douglass’s desire still urged on and he found his own way to learn to read. Douglass used his resources to his advantage. He used bread form the Hugh’s kitchen, which was available to him, to bribe the poor white boys and, in turn, they would teach him how to read. These boys then became his unofficial teachers. Douglass says of the boys, “I wished I could be as free as ...
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.... I pushed through the class and came out with a B. Therefore, no matter what the school system told me, I refuted them and succeeded.
Douglass’ article shows how controlling masters kept slaves from being educated. Today our government provides an equal public education for all students. Unfortunately, not all situations prove this to be true and will continue on into the future. Attitudes on education seem to rely on the opinions of the educators, but sometimes, to advance, students have to resist the prejudice of educators to create a path for themselves. Douglass was labeled as a slave and was not supposed to be able to learn. As for me, I was labeled with a learning disability and the school system did not believe I was capable of going to college. Douglass and I never gave in to society’s stigma, and we pushed through all the obstacles to achieve success.
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