Frederick Douglas: American Dream

Topics: Slavery in the United States, Black people, African American Pages: 2 (765 words) Published: October 16, 2001
In Pursuit of the American Dream The American Dream for the average slave was simple in mind, yet incredibly difficult to achieve. This basic dream was freedom, something we have lived with for all of our lives. To a slave, this is usually nothing more than a dream, one that shall never become a reality. A slave is bound physically and mentally to the institution of slavery. The institution breaks the spirit of the slave, until he or she could not even think of escape or freedom, but only on the task at hand. The white southern planters were suppressing the African American population. Whether free or in bondage, it didn't matter. The racial discrepancy was the excuse of this muzzle the planter class put on the blacks. Frederick Douglass, a slave until he ran away, was consistently dissuaded for trying to learn and educate himself. He was beat down by the white supremacists for standing up for his beliefs, but he was also encouraged by others to achieve his dream.

When Frederick Douglass was separated from his mother when he was a mere infant, to hinder the affection he might have for his mother. She died when he was seven years old, but was not allowed to be present during her death or burial. Douglas points out that he felt the same emotions he should have felt at the death of a stranger. The reason this was done is unknown. What good it does to separate the child from its mother is inconceivable, yet it was a standard practice during this time period. There is also the problem that the slaves must realize they are slaves for their whole lives, and cannot do anything about it. This is a very demoralizing situation. Frederick Douglass makes the point when talking to white boys of his age that they can be free when they turn twenty-one, but he shall be a slave his whole life. He used these same boys to his advantage though. They are the ones who taught him how to read after Mrs. Auld had forbid him to do so. He would carry bread around to trade knowledge for...
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