Fredrick Douglass

Topics: Slavery in the United States, Slavery, American Civil War Pages: 3 (827 words) Published: March 30, 2013
Finding his own identity
A successful way in keeping a person ignorant is to make sure to keep him or her illiterate. This was a strategy used to keep slaves from realizing how inhumane they were being treated. Fredrick Douglass had to learn this on his own. He went through many trials and tribulations to find his own identity. African American slavery, brought about by lack of social justices is the most important political issue in this essay.

In the Narrative (page 159), Douglass shares his personal life experience as a slave. Slave masters were able to beat their slaves because the latter were regarded as property, the same as animals. Many slaves tried to escape from the torture by going to the North, but they risked getting caught and being returned to the owner resulting in harsh punishment. During this, time it was okay to starve, beat and whip slaves.

Douglass had a kind mistress who began to teach him the alphabet. When her husband found out, he told her “If you teach that nigger how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave” (page 160). This comment really sank deep in Fredrick’s heart. At first he didn’t quite understand what it meant, but as he continued to learn little by little how to read, he realized by being a slave for life, he would never be happy. If slaves were educated, they would have all realized early in life that slavery was a curse. The government and all powerful people knew that by keeping the slaves uneducated, they would have full control.

During Fredrick’s lifetime, I personally don’t believe justice was possible in the South, so long as humans could be regarded as property. Justice at that time was an unrealistic dream to slaves. It wasn’t possible because the government approved of masters mistreating their slaves. I wouldn’t have been able to live a life of torment the way Fredrick lived. It saddened me when he described in horrific detail the murder of his brother. I now...
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