An Educated Slave Is a Dangerous Slave

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(Frederick Douglass)
In the Narrative of Frederick Douglass there is nothing more true than the statement of “ an educated slave is a dangerous slave”. Throughout this book we find that the main goal of slave masters is to keep their slaves in a state of “mental darkness” to prevent them from them realizing that they are more than slaves; that they are actual humans.

We first see this when Frederick is on the Auld family plantation and Mrs. Auld is teaching Frederick how to read, because she thought it was the right thing to do, since her husband Mr. Auld was the one who knew the true meaning of a slave which was that they were to be viewed as property instead of just another person. Mr. Auld Says “Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world. Now, said he if you teach that nigger how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master.” (78). What he is trying to get at while saying this is that as a slave gains knowledge they start to gain insight on what is going on around them, and begin to realize just how bad they are being treated and that there are people like the abolitionists who are on their side, and want to help them. And when the slaves see and opportunity like this they obviously want to make a change so they can put a stop to this, therefore making them “unmanageable” as Mr. Auld says.

Now that Mrs. Auld is strictly told not to help and educate slaves she begins to become one of the cruelest people Frederick has ever encountered. She now has adopted the same principals as her husband Mr. Auld that are to make sure that slaves know they are slaves, not people, so they don’t see the injustice in their situation. Now that she realized that Frederick was more of her property instead of just some one who worked for her she began to make Fredericks life worse and worse “Nothing seemed to make her angrier than to see me with a newspaper. She...
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