Frederick Douglass: the Key to Freedom

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The years of slavery as we all may know, were tough times for African American individuals. The hardships that they endured, physically, mentally and emotionally, can be seen as unimaginable by some of us and can leave us wondering how some of these people made it out alive. During that time, author Frederick Douglas, became a prevalent voice for slaves everywhere. Presenting the truth behind what he endured as a slave and what many other slaves can see as relatable as well. Amongst all truths he was making relevant a the time, Frederick Douglas’ idea of knowledge and education being the unseen path to freedom for slaves, does in fact present itself as a tool of freedom into his own life. As an African-American slave who worked in the United States during the 1800s, work was the only task that was given. Their whole lives revolved around the idea of work. This time period was filled with pain and suffering, where slaves had to work every day, and lived in fear of receiving punishments, or face the worse case scenario, death. Freedom and equality were highly restricted for African Americans, especially in the south where rules and regulations were strictly established to prevent any incentive for slaves. There were other ways to acquire freedom, and education was one of them. For a nation that possessed a powerful workforce, slavery played a key role in the South's profit structure. The idea of providing education for slaves was highly immoral and a controversial idea for the white slave-owners, because without slaves, their revenues would shrink dramatically, and eventually, antislavery would occur. Education leads to freethinking, and that in turn can lead to revolts, and the fear was that this could lead to a collapse in the economy. Despite many attempts to prevent little or no education for slaves throughout the South, it was inevitable that education played a major role in the abolition of slavery, and men like Frederick Douglass, used his insufficient, minute education to emerge from a slave to a free man.  At the beginning of the text, Douglass emphasizes that slaves were viewed as a group of cattle that lacked any sign of intelligence, and were isolated within plantations. The unknown was what they questioned every single day and in this case, Douglass never knew his own age or his father's name. He wrote that "a want of information concerning my [age] was a source of unhappiness to me even during childhood. The white children could tell their ages. I could not tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege" (Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, pg. 395). The readers can tell that Douglass was envious and jealous that certain people had the privilege to know the unknown and this was basically the start of his educational journey and freedom. Slaves seen as witless and stupid were stereotypical ideas, however false. With the proper education that can be given to slaves, they can become just as smart as those who scoffed them since the inception. This motivated Douglass to become active in education and hoped this will hand him the key to his future. One education that Douglass received was that he was taught the ABCs from Sophia Auld, the wife of a slaveholder. Understanding that the life of a slave was closely monitored and was restricted to many things, Douglass knew that any slave caught of any wrongdoing, was to be severely punished. The stench of fear and death roaming across the plantation has turned slaves into a broken and fragmented race, for they have accepted that work and death was to be their way of life. However, in Douglass' case, he was fortunate and lucky enough that his treatment was different when he lived with the Auld family. Up until this moment, Douglass' life was filled with misery, despair, and pain when he was separated from his mother, saw his aunt suffer at the hands of a white man's whip, lived in poor living conditions, and wept that there was no justice in this...
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