The Life Of Frederick Douglass Essay Research

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The Life Of Frederick Douglass Essay, Research Paper The Life of Frederick Douglass Fredrick Douglass was perhaps the most influential African American of the nineteenth century. His autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave brought the issue of slaves as people to the fore front and gave it a human perspective for perhaps the first time. His narrative was one of the key documents that set the abolition movement into high gear. His narrative describes his life from his earliest memories of childhood until he settled in New Bedford after escaping slavery in Maryland. Frederick Douglass was born in Tuckahoe, Maryland around 1817, the offspring of a slave women and a white slave owner. Shortly after his birth, his mother was moved to a

neighboring farm. During his life he would only see her a few times before her death. His first owner was a man he called Captain Anthony. His first overseer, Mr. Plummer, provided the first lasting memories of how cruel people could be to slaves. Mr. Plummer would regularly whip his aunt relentlessly until the women was soaked in blood and tears. Now as a boy he was raised on a smaller farm. He related how as a child he had no clothes the majority of the year except for a course shirt. He had no bed to sleep on other than the cold damp floor. As a slave, his kind were expected to labor from sun-up until sun-down and then carry on with whatever duties that had of their own. They then would simply fall out on the floor on and wait for the morning work bell. Occasionally a slave

was picked to go get the yearly allotment of clothing and monthly food ration from the Great House Farm. This was an honor that was bestowed on only the most trusting and loyal of the slaves, and one looked on with great privilege. Many times the chosen slave was heard to belt out songs on his trip. To many this was a sign on happiness but Douglass explained that this was actually a song of sorrow. Every song was one of woe and bitter anger, crying about the wrongs of slavery. Slaves are also thought of generally being happy with there masters at most times, but this too was merely a mask. They were often forced into this because of the threat of a severe lashing if the master was to find any one of his slaves in ill spirits with him. Frederick s tasks on the farm were simple, he

had to drive up cattle in the evening, keep birds out of the garden, keep the front yard clean and run errands for the master s daughter. If not doing these he was in the company of Master Daniel Lloyd. This was advantageous to Frederick because Daniel would always keep him protected and fed. Frederick was seldom whipped and suffered from little but hunger. Around the age of seven or eight he was moved to Baltimore to live with Mr. Hugh Auld. His job here was to take care of young Thomas. While in Baltimore Mrs. Auld showed him more love and affection than anyone else in his life had. She also planted the root of his greatness when she taught him the alphabet. Upon this discovery, Mr. Auld firmly scolded the both of them and from then on it wasn t allowed for Frederick to pursue

education. He did so anyway teaching himself to read and write by trading bread and favors with other young children in the area. He proclaimed that slavery changed white people too as was told of Mrs. Auld. She slowly changed over time and grew to be ill-willed and short with him. Education was the key to the end of slavery, but once Mrs. Auld discovered it she would have no part of it. His first experience with the thoughts of freedom came after he discovered the book The Columbian Orator. He read it and reread it and soaked in the abolitionist words and thoughts. This book fueled his thoughts and imagination and let him know that one day he would be free himself. In 1832 he was moved to St. Michael s with Master Thomas Auld. Even though they were friends as children they were