Is it possible for one of our times, living in the free United States, to be bonded in the institution of slavery? One hundred and fifty years have past now since slavery was abolished. The institution of slavery kept the deprivation of women legal and the learning of the mind illegal. Among the slaves, there could be no men, or else that slave would not be a slave. Frederick Douglas existed among slavery only to later on escape and gain his freedom from those who oppressed and enslaved him. The masters of slaves were determined to keep their slaves ignorant so that they would not even think of freedom or the joys it. Slaveholders tried to keep their slaves happy, but yet under their control. Douglas would not stand for this. It was his intelligence, bravery, and determination that made Frederick Douglas a man and not a slave.
Frederick Douglas was born and raised a slave. He had no other life in his youth. The harsh conditions of the institution forced Frederick to crawl into a bag at night and sleep on the cold ground with his head in the bag and his feet outside of it. This form of sleeping led his feet to be cracked with frost so badly that one could stick a pen into the gashes. Douglas and the other slaves were not fed a regular allowance of food. Him and the other children were called and eat coarse corn meal from a large wooden tray that was put on the ground. The children would be forced to eat like pigs gathered around left over mush.
At the age of seven or eight years old, Frederick left Colonel Lloyd’s (a prominent slaveholder) plantation to live in Baltimore, Maryland with Mr. Hugh Auld. Mr. Auld was a man who had never bonded a slave and knew very little of the keepings of them. Neither did his wife, who (without the knowledge of its repercussions) taught Frederick how to read. After Mr. Auld forbade his wife to teach Douglas, Frederick decided he would learn anyway. He tried to read newspapers and was forbidden. Whenever Frederick was left alone, he would attempt to read only to have Mr. Auld come and snatch away whatever reading material he had. The little that Frederick was taught was enough for him to go into the streets and receive his lessons from the boys whom he was acquainted with. Though Mrs. Auld refused to teach him, Douglas was determined to learn and he did. Determination was the firs...
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...me that turning point in his career as a slave. It revived his sense of manhood.
Douglas was determined to live a free life. He tried to escape from bondage not once, but twice. After betrayal the first time, Douglas was sent to the city once again to live with the Auld family. Douglas picked up a trade and worked to gain wages. He devised a plan where he would contract his time and would pay Mr. Auld six dollars a week to allow him to do this. He would allow Mr. Auld to trust that he would not run away. He did this by working hard and giving Mr. Auld all of his wages. He would make Mr. Auld very happy and content with this agreement. At the height of this, Douglas escaped bondage. He was able to outwit his master and escape from the hells of slavery.
Among the slaves, there were few who one could point out to be men for they lacked the intelligence, determination and bravery. Douglas was able to open his eyes and see that this life was not right. He viewed slavery as the greatest evil of his time. His successful escape proved him to be the man that a slaveholder could never keep.
Narrative of the life of Fredrick Dougalass, Fredrick Dougalass
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