In February of 1818, Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born in Talbot County, Maryland. He was born in his grandmother’s cabin, along Tuckahoe creek, to his mother Harriet Bailey. 1.B Harriet Bailey was a slave therefore when she gave birth to her child he also became a slave. Frederick’s mother was an African American while his father’s name was never known it was a known fact that he was a white man. Due to his 2. white father, black mother, and the American Indian he had from his grandmother, he was in fact a mulatto. As a child it was rumored that Frederick’s master was also his father. This was very common back then for the masters to satisfy themselves through their slaves. Children that were fathered by their owner were a constant offense to their mistress because the 4. master may show favor to his children that are not hers. These children could never please the mistress and she enjoyed them getting into trouble. Like most slaves when Frederick was born he was 3.A taken from his mother at only a few weeks old. Throughout his childhood 3.C he saw his mother very few times, and only during the night. When he was seven years old his mother died, and he was not allowed to be present at the end of her life. After he was taken from his parents he spent the 3.B early years of his life with his grandparents and with his aunt.
Growing up Frederick Douglass had two masters, Captain Anthony and Colonel Lloyd. While living on these plantations there were various rules and ways that things happened. Slaves weren’t given the same rules as white people. Not only did slaves have little freedom, but they were also limited to the amount of food and clothing they were given. 5.A.1 eight pounds of meat and one bushel of corn meal per month. 5.A.2 “two coarse linen shirts, one pair of linen trousers, like the shirts, one jacket, one pair of trousers for winter, made of coarse negro cloth, one pair of stockings, and one pair of shoes; the whole of which could not have cost more than seven dollars.” (47) this was the amount of clothing allowed for adults each year. 5.B Children who were not old enough to work were only given two linen shirts per year. If these shirts were worn out or out grown, the children would walk naked.
Often on plantations questionable things would happen such as slaves being beaten, starved, highly mistreated, and even murdered. Murders are wrong on every level but especially to those that have previously been tortured and are defenseless. On Colonel Lloyd’s plantation he had an overseer named Mr. Gore that was unnecessarily cruel to slaves. Slaves feared Mr. Gore and preferred not to be around him. Overseers could do things to slaves and go unpunished for them. Mr. Gore murdered a man by the name of Demby, and got away with it. Demby had been whipped and when he went to cool the burning in the creek, Gore gave him three chances to come out of the water and he didn’t, Mr. Gore shot and killed him at point blank range. When asked about his actions Mr. Gore told Colonel Lloyd, 6.A “that Demby had become unmanageable. He was setting a dangerous example to the other slaves, --one which, if suffered to pass without some such demonstration on his part, would finally lead to the total subversion of all rule and order upon the plantation. He argued that if one slave refused to be corrected, and escaped with his life, the other slaves would be, the other slaves would soon copy the example; the result of which would be, the freedom of slaves, and the enslavement of whites” (57). With this bogus explanation Mr. Gore got away with the murder of Demby. Mr. Gore also destroyed some of Colonel Lloyd’s property and used the same excuse saying 6.B that it was for the better of the white man and the slave was out of hand. It is learned that an overseer can be fired for not being cruel enough, but a murder is just part of the job.
Between the ages of seven and eight Frederick became excited when he learned that...
Cited: Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave. New York: Bedford/St. Martins, 2003. Print.
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