Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Summary

Topics: Slavery, Slavery in the United States, William Lloyd Garrison Pages: 8 (3521 words) Published: April 8, 2013
Frederick Douglass
The preface by William Lloyd Garrison describes the encounter between Frederick Douglass and Garrison, at an anti-slavery convention. It tells about how this encounter led to a long partnership between the two as well as Douglass’ involvement in the Anti-Slavery Society. At the convention the people noticed his appearance as well as his intellectual side. The crowd seemed to respond well to the idea of protecting Douglass against his owners. In the convent Garrison says Douglass’ testimony made the audience question their ideas about black being inferior. Garrison then goes on to talk about how any inferior ideas about a race are the cause of slavery. He describes the events where a shipwrecked whites where held as slaves by blacks in Africa because they were seen as inferior. He then goes on to point of that many slaves have endured a much harsher life then Douglass, and he points out how murder of slaves was not being investigated.

In the preface there was a letter to Douglass from a Wendell Phillips, addressing Douglass as a friend. He says that he is happy the writing of former slaves is now being published and able to be but into history. The prior history of slave owning was by slave owners themselves and they left out very important details. He then goes on to say that he was astounded at the harsh ways he was treated in an area that was considered a less harsh area. He then goes on to talk about how since he put the real names of himself and of his masters he has put himself in jeopardy for recapture. He then goes on to say he is like the founders of the Declaration of Independence for they had too, put themselves in harms way. Chapter one starts off with Fredrick Douglas telling about his place of birth, which was Talbot Country, Maryland. He does not know what year he was born though, this frustrated Douglas and he wondered why the white children knew their age and year they were born. He speculates that he may have been born in 1818 into a slave family. Douglas was separated from his mother soon after his birth, this was a common practice among slave owners at the time. Douglas says with is to break the bond between mother and child, but he does go on to say that his mother did walk twelve miles to come lay next to him. She died when he was seven, but this did not affect Douglas for he barely knew his mother. Douglas’ father was a white man and many say, his father was his owner, as many slave owners had sexual relations with their slaves. This practice of raping was often beneficial to the slave owners. Because they did not have to purchase slave but create them. It was not the same for the slave children produced out of wedlock had a harder time, for the slave owner wife usually made it a lot harder on the child produced from the rape.

Douglas describes his first owner as the Captain’s overseer, who was cruel and opened his eyes to the horrible life as a slave. Douglas describes how he watched his aunt being whipped and beaten. He says he felt a sense of responsibility for it. Frederick then goes into how on the plantation they grew tobacco, corn, and wheat, which are all sold in Baltimore. Each slave receives one blanket and one pair of cloths each year and they also receive an allowance which they buy their food with. Frederick’s owner is just one part of the giant slave corporation that is owned by a Colonel Lloyd. The corporation has many different farms and in total has three to four hundred slaves. At Frederick’s farm the overseer is Mr. Severe which was a good name considering how cruel he was to the slaves. After Severe dies a Mr. Hopkins replaces him, Hopkins was a much less cruel overseer and is considered a fair man.

Douglas grew up on the “Great Farm House” which resembled a small village where many slaves sang a lot. He goes on to say he did not at first understand the meaning of these songs but when he was older understood the sad meaning of them. Frederick said “I did...
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