Professor Heather Collin
SSH 101 November, 25, 2014 The life of Fredrick Douglass Waking up before the break of dawn, starving, freezing and deprived of sleep;
Being dragged out of bed to work at least a ten hour day. These thoughts aren't entirely
Inconceivable to us as they pretty much describe the lives of an African American slaves on a
Day to day basis. Now doing all of this without any compensation or freedom, and being
Constantly punished for minor offenses only to wake up and experience the same thing over
Again The next day and every day for the rest of their lives. This is what slavery was like in the
US during the 1800s yet these descriptions do not even touch the surface of what slavery was
Really like. Slaves lived in cramped quarters with barely any clothing and barely any space to sleep. They were deprived of their rights and the basic essentials needed to survive and they were given the bare minimum in terms of food rations and allowance for clothing. They were treated like animals and property; used, Beaten, traded and left for dead when they were no longer of any value. Moving closer into life as a slave through Frederick Douglass' eyes in The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass.
Slave owners who were white wealthy men needed constant control over their slaves and
They did this by instilling fear into them by whipping, beating and even killing slaves that were disobedient. Slave owners would make examples out of slave by whipping and beating them close to death if they disobeyed orders or made mistakes. Slave owners did not want their slaves to get attached to their families or to have any connection to them; they wanted to prevent revolution and collusion to escape within the slaves. Slaves were assets to their slave owners as they were their laborers, workers and livelihoods. Slave owners were dependent on their slaves and they could not afford for any of them to escape, get sick or die. Slave owners controlled slaves through fear and intimidation, they beat the slaves as they pleased and sometimes without reason. An example of this would be when Douglass witnessed the cruel whipping of his Aunt Hester when he was a little boy (Douglass 4). She disobeyed their master's order of staying away from another slave. Douglass believed his master's fury stemmed from jealousy as he wanted Aunt Hester all to himself which shows the cruel treatment of women in slavery. Female slaves were often raped by their masters and bore their master's children which also show the inhumane treatment of female slaves. Further into the book, Douglass witnessed the murder of a slave named Demby by Mr. Gore, Demby fled to a creek to avoid the whipping from Mr. Gore and he refused to get out of the creek so as a result, Mr. Gore shot him to death (Douglass 20). He used Demby as an example to the other slaves to prevent them from disobeying him and to show them the consequences of doing so. After witnessing Douglass realized his fate of being a slave for life which started his desire to escape from that world.
Slaves were constantly being lent or traded to others like property. They were even divided according to the wills of their deceased masters (Douglass 40). Douglass was given to his late master’s daughter after his master's death and was lent out to several different slave owners. Overall, Douglass himself was lent to upwards of five slave owners. Rich slave owners had over a hundred slaves and they had the liberty of renting out their slaves in exchange for money, goods, and etc. Through this, Douglass experienced life in Baltimore where they treated their slaves extremely well compared to the countryside. Douglass was well fed, well clothed, and wasn't beaten by his master. Douglass was introduced to the alphabet and reading by his new master in Baltimore (Douglass 32). Douglass' master stopped teaching him