In the 1800s, for a slave to know how to read and write was not only unheard of, but illegal. Frederick Douglass was born a slave in rural Talbot County, Maryland. For about seven years, he received reading lessons from his mistress Hugh, but that all changed as soon as she commenced her duties as a slaveholder. The once kind hearted woman was changed into a woman to be feared. She stopped teaching Douglass how to read and would monitor his whereabouts in her home to ensure that he was not reading anything.
Frederick Douglass believed that through literacy, a slave or black people, could receive their key to freedom. This was shown when Mrs.Auld taught Frederick how to read when he first got to their plantation. It was also shown when Frederick gave bread to white kids to learn how to read and spell. Another place it was shown is when Frederick listened to a conversation and went to the dictionary to find out the meaning of those words.
The concept of consumerism was first brought to my awareness in First Year Writing. I admit, before this intro course, I was indeed ignorant of the negative impacts that consumption had on society. FYS opened my mind to the dangers of over-consumption, and more importantly, helped me see beyond what meets the eye. Take for example, Disney, a seemingly innocent corporation, a company’s whose name is practically synonymous with the notion of childhood innocence. Upon initial judgement, one would assume that Disney is merely harmless family entertainment.
Though I pride myself to be a student of history, I sadly know little about the life of Fredrick Douglass. His essay, “Learning to Read”, beautifully captured the significance of knowing how to read, and the obstacles that Douglass had to navigate through in order to learn how to read. Visiting the African American History museum’s exhibit on Fredrick Douglass elected me further my knowledge about the life of Fredrick Douglass, and acted as a nice companion to his essay. What shocked me the most when visiting the museum was the role that Douglass placed on photography as a tool for social reform. Douglass believed that by taking photos, most common self-portraits, he would tear apart the societal norms about what white Americans thought African
In the narrative Why I Learned to Read and Write, by Frederick Douglass he expressed how difficult life had been being a slave. He felt the need to break away from the norm and learn how to read and write. While educating himself he dealt with many obstacles that prolonged his education. Although he dealt with difficult obstacles he ended up becoming a free slave, because he was well educated. Slaveholder believed education and slavery were incompatible, therefore Douglass was faced with the decision to use various stratagems; in the process he ended up re-enforcing the view of the slaveholders and taught society the importance of education.
The story” Learning to Read”, by Malcolm X, depicts how the motivation could push people further to achieve their academic goal no matter where you from or who you are. The author himself never made it past the eighth grade because he dropped out from the school. Of course with unemployment he got himself involved in criminal activity and later, be putted into prison. the life in prison makes him revalue his past and trying to stand up for himself in order to beat this circumstance. He taught himself how to read and become literate even all he could rely on is a dictionary, and the limit recourse obtained from the prison school.
Frederick Douglass gave an Insight on what a slave had to go through and how they lived (6). He was very influential in his speeches that he gave (3). He use his speeches to start an end to slavery (6). To this day he is one of the most intellectual leaders of his time period (3). Frederick Douglass was an American abolitionist in the transcendental movement (2).
Frederick Douglass the man, the steamroller, the one who paved the way for African Americans. Douglas was an escaped slave. He paved the way for many people. The African American society would not be where we are today without the works and the upstanding against the civil rights. Self-teaching and strong will, and his faith in religion allowed Frederick Douglas the strength and will power to never give up.
Frederick Douglass once said, “Through conscious of the difficulty of learning without a teacher, I set out with high hope, and a fixed purpose, at whatever cost of trouble, to learn how to read… It gave me the best assurance that I might rely with the utmost confidence [and learn how] to read,” (41). Douglass was known for being one of the most influential figures in America for being one of the few slaves to read; however, there is one other person who is an important figure in American history. Nellie Bly is an important American rebel, because of how she changed the newspaper industry for female writers. By becoming a writer, Bly helped change the way men portrayed women during the Victorian era. When Nellie Bly started to work in a newspaper
“Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” As I prepare for my journey into university life and beyond, I have found that these words, spoken by Frederick Douglass, have become a great inspiration to me. As an African American who truly understood the value of knowledge, his life has shown me the true beauty and importance of what I am seeking to gain. Douglass took responsibility to learn by creating his own opportunities, shared his knowledge willingly with others, and truly understood its value through the application of what he learned. As a slave, Douglass was not given the chance to attend school. The convenience of a readily available curriculum and steady learning schedule were not his to enjoy.
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free,” wrote Fredrick Douglass. Not only is this true to me but it is also inspirational. The means to learn, understand the world around you, or even communicate would not be possible if you couldn’t read. Reading opens up so many opportunities for everybody that learns to do it. Once you learn to read you have the means to succeed.