American Slave Violence

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Violence is no stranger to America, being that this land was built on the blood of our people as we fought to obtain our most basic human rights from Great Brittan. It is to no surprise that because we have recognized fighting and warfare as the only pathway to our desires, we see it being used more and more in our short history as a nation. This observance especially reigns true in the autobiography of the iconic Fredrick Douglass, one of the earliest and most profound African-Americans recognized in history. Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass: An American Slave, displays first-hand accounts of slave violence and how these harsh acts affected mainly people of color. Douglass vocalized in his writings, the cruelty and mistreatment of…show more content…
Learning to read and write was a skill in which Douglass took the utmost pride, however, it was a forbidden task. This served as yet another way to hinder the growth of an individual in the slave community. Douglass’s master, Mr. Hugh Auld, justified his reasoning behind forbidding intellectual advancement by saying, “If you teach that nigger how to read, there would be no keeping him…he would, at once become unmanageable…discontented and unhappy” (Douglass 48). Which in all truth, is exactly right. Slave owners were very afraid that if a slave gained too much knowledge, they would finally be wise enough to fight back. Such was true in many cases, one of them being the Demby dilemma mentioned in Chapter 4. Demby, a slave who disobeyed the commands of a cruel overseer by the name of Mr. Gore, was fatally shot in the head and killed for his defiance. When questioned by the plantation owner, the overseer’s explanation as to why he took such drastic measures was “…if one slave refused to be corrected, and escaped with his life, the other slaves would soon copy the example…” (Douglass 39). And so bought forth the true mentality of the white man during the time. Slave owners did not like unmanageable slaves, and choosing to make an example out of the ones unwilling to listen, was the best control tactic they could have used. “Do as I say, or die”, was the essential message that slave owners were sending, and for over 200 years the slaves heard them loud and
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