April 12, 2013
The Diary of Thomas Elliot
January 21, 1859:
My name is Thomas Elliot and I am a young boy from Louisville, Georgia. I am black and am a slave of a farm owner here in Louisville. I do not know how old I am or my birth date like most other slaves, for we were never told. I did measure myself today though and I have grown two inches in the past year, bringing my height to an impressive five feet. I found an autobiography written by a man by the name of Frederick Douglass over four years ago now, but never read it because I never knew how to read. Luckily my master’s daughter, Mary, has taken a liking to me and has been teaching me how to read over the past years, despite her father’s disapproval. A few weeks ago I finally finished reading this autobiography of whom I now view as a self made man and one of my greatest heroes. February 14, 1859:
I am excited to be able to write in my diary again considering how little I get to write. If my master ever caught me writing, I would be a dead man, so I have to hide my diary secretively and safely. After reading the autobiography of Douglass, I put much thought into how he was able to distinguish himself from all the other slaves, and actually make something of himself, for I wish to distinguish myself in the same manner. My first realization of how Douglass became a significant figure was that he was given the opportunity of being educated and valued his education greatly. Frederick Douglass was taught to read and write just like myself, but I know of many slaves that can read and write like Douglass who have done nothing close to what he has accomplished. I think that Douglass had a realization of his identity when he stated, “Whilst I was saddened by the thought of losing the aid of my kind mistress, I was gladdened by the invaluable instruction which, by the merest accident, I had gained from my master” (Douglass 34). Through Douglass’ questioning of...