Frederick Douglass was a newspaper editor, lecturer, United States minister to Haiti, and a very successful writer despite living a childhood of slavery. In the essay by Frederick Douglass, Learning to Read and Write, Douglass describes his personal experiences as a young black slave during the 1800’s. Similarly, in another essay by Maya Angelou, Graduation, Angelou describes her experiences as a black girl in the 1960’s. Both authors bring out the challenges as a child that they had to overcome to become successful. Although Frederick Douglass and Maya Angelou agree that education for blacks was extremely challenging, Douglass provides a more convincing argument because he became literate under more challenging circumstances.
First, black slaves attempting to gain an education did not have the support from a community of friends and family; they were on their own. Douglass describes the people around him which include his master, mistress, other slaves, and white children. Many slaves feared their masters and did not try to educate themselves. The author’s master and mistress did not allow him to study or read even the newspaper. On the other hand, blacks during Angelou’s time had the support of their own family, teachers, and other classmates. Angelou describes the day of graduation which is a time that everyone looks forward to. The spirit of everyone at this time is very positive which shows the support that the children are given to reach this point. Angelou describes the graduation time; she said, “The children in Stamps trembled visibly with anticipation. Some adults were excited too, but to be certain the whole young population had come down with graduation epidemic.(43 Angelou)” Angelou portrays the attitude of the people in the town in this quote. Although blacks during this time did receive negative support from some, enslaved blacks received either none or negative support.
Subsequently, black slaves did not have a... [continues]
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