Frederick Douglass: Overcoming Obstacles

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The legendary abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass was one of the most important social reformers of the nineteenth century. Being born into slavery on a Maryland Eastern Shore plantation to his mother, Harriet Bailey, and a white man, most likely Douglass’s first master was the starting point of his rise against the enslavement of African-Americans. Nearly 200 years after Douglass’s birth and 122 years after his death, The social activist’s name and accomplishments continue to inspire the progression of African-American youth in modern society. Through his ability to overcome obstacles, his strive for a better life through education, and his success despite humble beginnings, Frederick Douglass’s aspirations stretched his influence through…show more content…
Douglass encountered multiple harsh realities of being enslaved. For example, the ex-slave was practically starved to death by his masters on multiple occasions. In fact, “[He was] allowed less than a half of a bushel of corn-meal per week, and very little else...It was not enough for [him] to subsist upon...A great many times [he had] been nearly perishing with hunger” (pg 31). Douglass managed to overcome the maltreatment of his wretched slave owners through the eventual attainment of freedom. The injustice imposed upon the African-American slaves by their owners was the crux of Douglass’s motivation to escape this inhumane life. Adolescents in today’s society could use Frederick’s determination as an example of moving forward to better oneself or one’s situation regardless of…show more content…
African-American slaves were forbidden to obtain the knowledge of being able to read or write, stemming from the fear of white masters that educated slaves will overpower them. Douglass managed to learn to read by bribing poor and hungry white boys into teaching him in exchange for bits of bread. Douglass illustrates his thirst for literacy through “[The] bread [he] used to bestow upon the hungry little urchins, who, in return, would give [him] that more valuable bread of knowledge” (pg 23). This reveals how much Douglass valued education and took advantage of all the knowledge he had access to. Today’s youth, especially the ones belonging to a minority
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