The Underground Railroad By Frederick Douglass Essay

The Underground Railroad By Frederick Douglass Essay

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The Underground Railroad was an extremely complex organization whose mission was to free slaves from southern states in the mid-19th century. It was a collaborative organization comprised of white homeowners, freed blacks, captive slaves, or anyone else who would help. This vast network was fragile because it was entirely dependent on the absolute discretion of everyone involved. A slave was the legal property of his owner, so attempting escape or aiding a fugitive slave was illegal and dangerous, for both the slave and the abolitionist. In The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass understands that he can only reveal so many details about his escape from servitude, saying, “I deeply regret the necessity that impels me to suppress any thing of importance connected with my experience in slavery” (Douglass 88). Douglass agrees with the significance of maintaining secrecy, so as not to threaten the mission of abolitionists, those involved in the Underground Railroad, and the hope of freedom for his brothers who were still enslaved.
The Underground Railroad encompassed a large part of 19th century United States, transporting slaves through slave states into Northern free states and Canada. It was successful in freeing an estimated 30,000 to 100,000 “passengers”, according to Nicholas Maurice Young in his Essay “Even Superheroes Need a Network: Harriet Tubman and the Rise of Insurgency in the New York State Underground Railroad” (Young 399). It was lead by abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery herself in 1849. (Info from Harriet Tubman Biography)
Harriet Tubman held the same view as Frederick Douglass on the necessity of caution and discretion. As a key contributor to the Underground Railroad, “Her ...


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...railroad’s success and that any detail could drail the movement completely.Without a full understanding, it may seem that The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is fragmented and vague. But after further research, the undetailed writing style tells an even deeper story of the time in which it was written. Douglass’ novel is now read as a classic piece of educational, historical literature, but it was originally written for a different audience. Contemporary readers were abolitionists, slaves and blacks who had achieved freedom, but just the same it was read by slave owners, supporters of slavery, and those in charge of tracking down fugitive slaves. Apart from the narrative, Douglass’s undescriptive writing style paints an even clearer picture for readers of the caution that freed slaves, abolitionists, and members of the Underground Railroad had to exercise.

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