The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, American Slave Frederick Douglass was born in February 1818 in Talbot County, Maryland. His exact date of birth is not known as he states “By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs.(946)” He was well known as a great antislavery writer. After he escaped from slavery he became a well known abolitionist who fought hard to make slave masters believe that African Americans were smart enough, if taught properly, to function as independent American citizens. During his life he wrote many autobiographies describing his experiences in slavery and later times of his life. He also wrote newspaper articles. He was one of the first people who believed in the equality of everybody regardless of race or gender, as he was also a big supporter of women’s rights. In the following narrative Douglass describes the things he saw and went through as a young slave and makes arguments for what he felt was right or wrong. Based on what I read I can assume that the audience that Frederick Douglass is speaking to is people that have never experienced slavery first hand or was not living around those times. In the narrative he gets deep into detail about watching slaves being whipped and the looks on their faces. He describes how some slaves would try to hold their screams in to prevent the slave master from whipping them even more. He also describes seeing blood running down a slaves back and the slave master whipping the area that was bleeding the most to cause even more pain. He explains to people reading the narrative how the mother was separated from her children displaying how slave owners wanted to break up the family connection between African Americans. As he states “it is a common custom, in the part of Maryland from which I ran away, to part children from their mothers at a very early age.(946)” The separation was so cruel that he could not even be around his mother while she was sick, when she died, or when she was buried. Reading the narrative its very easy to tell that he was writing out of frustration and from his heart to illustrate the things he had to go through coming up. He explains how the slaves were only given a certain amount of clothes for the whole year. When those clothes were torn and worn out they would have to walk around naked until the next set of clothes were given out which was not uncommon. He vividly describes only having enough of clothes to cover the top of his body and having to leave his feet hanging out while he slept on the ground in the cold. Just as bad as the clothes situation was the food situation. Slaves were barely fed any food certainly not enough to keep them full. Douglass recalls times when he had seen slaves fighting for food on the ground like pigs. Whoever was the strongest got the best position to get the most food. After everything was gone whoever did not eat was just out of luck. Some slaves would fight with slaves with different masters about who’s master was the best. This just illustrates how slaves were so used to their lifestyle that they would be fighting over who was being treated better. They never even imagined what it would be like to be free. According to Douglass being a slave was bad enough but being a slave to a poor man was even worse. I think the most damaging thing that Douglass wanted the audience to know about is how the lives of slaves meant so little to their slave owners. He describes an incident when a slave had accidentally trespassed into another slave owners property. When the slave owner caught him in the water he instructed him three times to get out and then shot him with a shotgun. When he went to the slaves owner to explain the situation there was very little said. Douglass states that “it was a common saying, even among little white boys, that it was worth half-cent to kill a nigger, and a half-cent to bury one.(957)” Douglass hated the fact of knowing that he was
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass was one of the most prominent figures of the abolitionist movement,
a movement that fought to end slavery. A brilliant speaker, Douglass engaged in a tour of
lectures, and became recognized as one of America’s first great black speakers. Douglass also
wrote a personal narrative in 1845 titled Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Taylor 34).
Through his book , Frederick Douglass aimed to educate the uninformed Northern…
Narrative of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, by Frederick Douglass
Like many slaves, it is unsure about Frederick Douglass’s exact birthdate. “By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant. I do not remember to have ever met a slave who could tell of his birthday (Douglass, 1).” This was one of the ways that the slave owners mentally suppressed their slaves. Frederick…
January 21, 2015
An American Slave in Antebellum America
In Antebellum America the social, legislative, and political policies regarding slavery permeated everyday life. Frederick Douglass pierces the veil of slavery’s inhumanity and reveals the cruelty and savagery of the slavery he personally endured in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. With over thirty thousand copies read within the first year of being published in 1845, Douglass launched himself as an articulate…
John Calhoun and Fredrick Douglass
Slavery was an incredibly controversial topic throughout the many years it existed. Clearly, the southern mostly promoted slavery because agricultural and the need for human labor while the north was against it. As a result, everyone had different views on slavery and this was apparent with Frederick Douglass and John Calhoun. Frederick Douglass was a slave throughout his life and because of the personal experiences was very against it. While John Calhoun was…
This book was a view on slavery between during the Civil War. It shows the different views of the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. These two had very different views at first, but then learned to adapt to each other and eventually became great friends.
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery. He had a strong hatred toward slavery; not just because he was a slave, but because he thought it to be inhumane and cynical. Douglass knew from a young age that he was…
Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey (later known as Frederick Douglass) was born a slave in Talbot County, Maryland around the year 1818. He was an African American reformer, writer, and orator. Douglass was one of the few noteworthy heroes who arose from the evils of slavery and impacted the United States and the world in significant ways. After escaping from slavery, he became known for his astounding oratory skills and remarkable antislavery writing. He became an important leader of the abolitionist…
Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
Slavery has been one of the painful stains in United States history for over two hundred years. The quest for freedom has been a long road for many, but more for African slaves. Plucked from their homeland, being thrust into an unfamiliar territory, African slaves have fought to maintain their identity even though they were treated as property. In the autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Frederick Douglass focuses…
Texas Tech University
The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglas
“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe and indeed a little learning is needed and for that I shall explain”- Frederick Douglass
In a world where justice is denied is to live in a world where righteousness…
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
By Frederick Douglass
Date due: Wednesday, April 25, at 2:00 p.m.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass details the experiences of one escaped slave. Your task is to create a carefully written essay of 750-1,500 words (three to five pages) according to the following prompt. You must do both halves of this prompt.
Part 1. Based on our study of the condition of the United States prior to the Civil War, imagine yourself…