Douglass states: “The more I read, the more I was led to abhor and detest my enslavers. I could regard them in no other light than a band of successful robbers, who had left their homes, and gone to Africa, and stolen us from our homes, and in a strange land reduced us to slavery” (Douglass 51). Reading and writing opened Frederick Douglass’s eyes to the cause of the abolitionist. He became knowledgeable about a topic that white slave owners tried to keep hidden from their slaves. Literacy would eventually impact his life in more ways than what he could see while he was a young slave under Master Hugh’s
In the 1700-1800’s, the use of African American slaves for backbreaking, unpaid work was at its prime. Despite the terrible conditions that slaves were forced to deal with, slave owners managed to convince themselves and others that it was not the abhorrent work it was thought to be. However, in the mid-1800’s, Northern and southern Americans were becoming more aware of the trauma that slaves were facing in the South. Soon, an abolitionist group began in protest, but still people doubted and questioned it. When Frederick Douglass published his self-written narrative, people finally got a fully comprehensive view of the life of a slave.
African Americans were treated very cruel as slaves during the 1800’s. The cruelty of the slaves’ punishments depended usually on their location, the conditions, and the time. The Slaves were mostly whipped, executed, and raped. They weren’t allowed to learn to read and write. The whites kept them from having religious gatherings, and made them feel useless without their owners.
Through his own experience of slavery from a child to adult, he exposed the brutal nature of slavery and revealed underside of how slave owners maintain such terrible regime. In the institution of slavery, whites gain their power over slavery by the practice of violent and cruel treatment, deliberately keep slaves ignorant of basic facts about slave themselves and the intention of enslaving them. Slaveholders in the south separated slave’s family, slaves will become vulnerable and lost consciousness or hope in the absence of family love. Slaveholder could keep them without facing any lawful punishments. Basis on these, whites can make black slaves lost their individuality and qualities as human, they will have not have consciousness aware their place in the society.
Slave owners feared that if slaves became educated and “waken to a sense of their rights, and of the injustice done them” (Douglass 14), they would eventually revolt and want to simply be treated like a human being. For this reason, slave owners kept their blacks ignorant
Frederick Douglass in his narrative “Why I learned to Read and Write” demonstrates how he surpassed many obstacles along the way towards getting an education. These obstacles not only shaped Frederick’s outlook on life but also influenced him in his learning to read and write. Frederick’s main challenge was that of not being an owner of his person but rather a slave and a property to someone else. Frederick Douglass lived in the time when slavery was still taking place and slaveholders viewed slavery and education as incompatible. The slave system didn’t allow mental or physical freedom for slaves; slaveholders were to keep the apt appearance and slaves were to remain ignorant.
Slavery in America was considered to be one of the most devastating acts in history. African American people were torn from their homelands and sold at auction to the highest bidder. Men, women, and children were forced into slavery or born into it, experiencing harsh conditions such as abuse, neglect, and even death. This experience though did not always happen, some slaves were treated fairly and were never punished by their owner’s. Events such like this were recalled by two former slaves by the names of Aunt Harriet Smith and Charlie Smith.
Noticeably, his biggest barrier was due to his enslavement; as those who where born into slavery were not allowed to read nor write. For a slave that could read, let alone write, potentially, would be flogged or even lose their life. His first impediment came when his Mistress decided to no longer teach him how to read; every time Douglass was caught with a newspaper or presumed to have a book he was scolded. With the
In the mid 1800’s slavery was a very popular thing in the south and was not looked down upon. Many people thought slavery brought the community together and thought it was good. Later Frederick Douglass, a famous slave and abolitionist came out and wrote his own narrative, throwing light on the different aspects of slavery that made slaves think it was bad, such as, cruel beatings that often occurred, the lack of education being given to slaves, and lies being told to the general public. He had very different positions on slavery compared to, pro slavery men and he used his narrative and life experiences to support those positions. Many beatings happened on the plantation, that Douglass and his fellow slaves witnessed.
From the very beginning of the seventeenth century, America depended on slaves for free labor in order to make a considerable profit. These slaves were not treated as normal people though; they were sold into a life of no rights, cruel punishment, and rigorous work schedules. In his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, freed slave Frederick Douglass shares his personal accounts with slavery in order to reveal the harsh truth slavery hides to the public. Throughout his narrative, Douglass uses specific maritime allusions as well as vivid diction, oxymorons and anaphora to persuade the reader to think more philosophically about oppression and in turn ask the question, ‘what does it truly take to be free?’. Throughout the
Inhumane What is a slave? The word slave in the dictionary is as stated; a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them. Many have heard the word slave before but few are familiar with the brutality and horrors slaves endured in the past and still sometimes today. Through the book Kindred, written by Octavia E Butler, the movie Roots, Incidents in the life of a slave girl seven years concealed, and the diary of a slave we are exposed to some of the gruesome and appalling ways slaves were treated. Not only are we exposed to the physical inhumanity but we also get a glimpse of the emotional expedition slaves overcame and overcome on a day to day basis.
Adult slaves and the blood-related slave children of their masters were bought or sold by their masters. In south slaveholders’ mind, slaves were and tool of laboring for support slaveholders’ living. Slave masters only care about keeping slaves working for them as long as slaves can alive, and how much fortune and wealth slaves can bring to them according the amount labor they can do. Base on this, slave owners would “retire” or abandon, but not free any slaves who were too old to work and became less profitable for slave-owners, just as Douglass’s grandma. Meanwhile, their masters enjoyed whipping and mistreating them regardless of their action, but slaves had to endure their feeling and angry in order to survive, and not telling the truth about their masters.
This means that literacy was a huge impact with Douglass of the true idea of slavery and how slaveholders were taking advantage of them . Douglass believe education was the strength for slaves to gain freedom. Douglass finally succeeded in learning how to write when he was left alone by his mistress and started to practice writing in his Master Thomas’s copy-book. Learning how to read and write help Douglass see slavery as intolerable cruel punishment, so he did not sleep until he became free. By doing so, Frederick Douglas began to write in support of
The question on how slaves were actually treated by re- revolutionary English colony masters brings some turmoil into play. Slavery gained importance in the English colonies when there was an increasing need for labor but unluckily for some slaves, certain masters were a bit gentler than others. When we first think about slavery, our reaction is always negative. And, although that is probably the best reaction to have overall, we have to realize not all slaves were treated poorly. Just like there is good and bad people in the world now, it was the same back then.
First off, you were treated like trash; by being either separated from your family or traded off to slave owner after slave owner. A slave would be punished for many things. Any form of resist or attempting to run away would result in some kind of punishment to break the slave’s will. Slaves would get in trouble for talking too much, disobeying, and not working hard enough. Slave owners had many punishments for slave it rarely depends how serious the crimes were.