The slaveowners in Douglass’s account kept literacy from the slaves, because they understood its substantial power and ability to provide a state of consciousness to the slaves. Slaveowners during the mid 19th century treated their slaves as nothing more than laboring animals, for the one and only purpose of carrying out their “masters” orders. But literacy was not coincidentally separated from the slaves lives. “Mr. Auld found out and at once forbade Mrs. Auld to instruct me further, telling her, among other things, that it was unlawful, as well as unsafe, to teach a slave to read “(45). This quote occurs in the book, when Douglass’s new owner Mrs. Auld (whom is new to slave owning), teaches Douglass to read. Mr. Auld finds out and forbids Mrs. Auld to teach him further. Mr. Auld describes teaching slaves to read as unlawful and unsafe. To describe something as unsafe, is to imply it has the power to threaten some...
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...the tools to detest the system of slavery, which without, his story would not be atypical. White slave owners understood that with education the black man would not take an inch, but an ell. This is exactly what Douglass did, utilizing this resource to unclasp the grip of slavery and spread his knowledge. Literacy inherently in the beginning of its story with Douglass, was scattered into pieces. He configured these pieces into his understanding of a weapon his masters detested. Douglass through comprehension unsheathed the manifestation of literacy, but found it sharp enough to cut even himself. Ultimately smelting his weapon, he harnessed its full potential, reforming his tool into a key. This key was able to open the door to Douglas’s life beyond even the long unraveling whip of suffrage. Frederick Douglass through his story used knowledge, as power.
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