Frederick Douglass "How I Learned to Read and Write"

Topics: Slavery in the United States, Slavery, Frederick Douglass Pages: 3 (939 words) Published: January 31, 2011
Frederick Douglass "How I Learned to Read and Write"
During the 1800’s, the institution of slavery was still ongoing in the few slave states left in America. Slavery was still proving to be unjust and unfair, not allowing for African Americans to be considered equals. However, some slaves were able to overcome the many restrictions and boundaries that slavery forced upon them. In Frederick Douglass’ essay “Learning to Read and Write,” Douglass portrays himself as an intelligent and dignified slave who’s able to overcome the racial boundaries placed upon him. Frederick Douglass saw that his only pathway to freedom was through literacy, so his goal was to learn how to read and write no matter the circumstances. Douglass realized becoming a literate slave was considered as having too much power because it made him aware of unjust circumstances of slavery. For a slave to become literate wasn’t tolerated. If a slaves knew how to read and write, it would make them unfit for being slaves. At the age of twelve, Frederick Douglass manipulates his circumstances caused by slavery and uses various stratagems to learn how to read and write.

Eager to learn, Douglass manipulated his circumstances under slavery to become literate. At first, Master Hugh’s wife had started tutoring Douglass, teaching him the alphabet. These lessons continued until she was further instructed by her husband not to do so. He believed that if slaves could read and write they would no longer obey him without question or thought. Due to this belief, tutoring ended abruptly. Masters Hugh’s wife carried out her husband’s commands, but she also tried to prevent Douglass from becoming educated by anyone else either. However, Douglass was able to obtain newspapers and or various books to further his education. The...
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