How Did Frederick Douglass Impact On Education

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Liberation Through Education Frederick Douglass, proclaimed human rights leader during the 19th century abolition movement, in his critically acclaimed autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass tells his personal experiences of overcoming obstacles a slave faced leading up to the point in which he breaks his own chains of slavery. Frederick Douglass’ most instrumental moment of his life was when he was under the ownership of the Auld family and gained the gift of literacy from Mrs. Auld. His ability to read had a profound effect on his development, such an effect that Mr. Auld felt the urgency to suppress any further growth. From this point on, Frederick Douglass had the knowledge to hate what his current and future …show more content…

Covey, a man who was renowned for breaking in young slaves, Douglass was subject to some of the most intensive work and brutalizing punishments. This inhumane method of working slaves was in Mr. Covey’s eyes, justified and was how things were supposed to be. From this, Frederick Douglass grew to despise how slave owners would justify their actions and consider them morally correct. Douglass describes the exhausting effect that Mr. Covey’s work had on him, “My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect languished, the disposition to read departed, the cheerful spark that lingered about my eye died; the dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into a brute!” (Douglas 55). The state, in which Frederick Douglass describes, shows how slave owners would exhaust their slaves and break their body, soul, and spirit. Douglass also makes note that Covey took away what Frederick Douglass loved most, his desire to read and to completely deter all intellectual strength he possessed. With lack of intellectual strength and the knowledge of the repercussions for disobeying their masters, slave owners inferior in strength to his slaves would be able to maintain control. Douglass also hates how slave owners use the Christian religion to justify their actions. Mr. Covey himself demonstrates this justification “He seemed to think himself equal to deceiving the Almighty. He would make a short prayer in the morning, and a long prayer at night; and, strange as it may seem, few men would at times appear more devotional than he” (Douglass 54). Douglass, who is a Christian, sees through Mr. Covey’s deception and hates that he is using prayer as a form of making himself righteous in front of God. Mr. Covey is not the only slave owner who practices this deception, when Douglass is in St. Michael’s he is teaching a Sunday school that ends up being dismissed by slave owners who beat them with sticks and stones.

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