Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Summary
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery sometime in 1817 or 1818, and like many slaves, he is unsure of his exact date of birth. Douglass is separated from his mother soon after he is born. His father is most likely their white master, Captain Anthony. Captain Anthony works for a man named Colonel Lloyd. Lloyd owns hundreds of slaves on the “Great House Farm.” Douglass’s life on this plantation is not as hard as most of the other slaves. As a child, he served in the household instead of in the fields. When he was seven, he was given to Hugh Auld, who lives in Baltimore. Douglass enjoyed a relatively open life there. Sophia Auld, Hugh’s wife, never had slaves before, and she is kind to Douglass at first. She began to teach Douglass to read until her husband ordered her to stop. Douglass was able to teach himself to read with the help of local boys. As he learned to read and write, he became aware of the evils of slavery and of the existence of the abolitionist movement. He plans to escape to the North eventually. After the deaths of Captain Anthony and his remaining children, Douglass is taken back to serve Thomas Auld. Auld considers Douglass unmanageable, so he rents him for one year to Edward Covey. Covey manages in the first six months to “break” Douglass, so much that he can barely work due to his injuries and exhaustion. The turning point comes when Douglass decides to fight back against Covey. They have a two hour fight, and Covey never touches Douglass again. After his year with Covey was over, Douglass was rented to William Freeland for two years. Freeland was a fairer guy, but Douglass’s urge to escape came back. At Freeland’s, Douglass began teaching other slaves how to read and write. He also formed a plan to escape with three other slaves. Someone tells Freeland their plan, and Douglass and the others are taken to jail. Thomas Auld then sent Douglass back to Baltimore with Hugh Auld, to learn the...
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