Frederick Douglass' Obstacles

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Frederick Douglass' Obstacles

At a young age, Frederick Douglass knew that his pathway from slavery to freedom was the ability to read and write. Mrs. Auld (his mistress) started teaching him the A,B,C’s willingly but shortly after, Mr. Auld caught on. He got furious and demanded she stopped doing so. “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. As to himself, it could do him no good, but a great deal of harm. It would make him discontented and unhappy”(Douglass Pg.160). These cruel words stuck with Douglass as he used his master’s words as motivation to overcome one of our nation’s biggest mistakes: slavery.

It was so hard for Douglass to accept the fact that he would be a slave for the rest of his life. After he had heard his master say such harsh things, he made it his priority to learn how to read. “Though conscious of the difficulty of learning without a teacher, I set out with high hope, and a fixed purpose, at whatever cost of trouble, to learn how to read”(Pg. 161). Every time Douglass had a chance, he would be reading. Whether it was a newspaper, a book, the dictionary, he took whatever he could get his hands on so that he could teach himself how to read in the quickest way possible. And that he did.

But Douglass didn’t stop there. He wished to learn to write so that one day when he runs away, he can write his own pass. He thought about attempting to escape several times, but he was a little too young and wasn’t quite educated as he would like to be. So in the meantime, he was teaching himself how to write. He would copy the italics in the Webster’s Spelling Book until he could write every letter down without looking at the book. He also learned to write by writing the appropriate letter on the pieces of timber at the shipyard. Douglass was willing to do anything and everything to gain an education so that he...
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