Frederick Douglass As A Representative Of Self-Made Men Summary

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Chapter 3 Douglass as a Representative of Self-made Men 3.1. Becoming literal In the nineteenth century America, slave owners did not allow slaves neither to learn reading or writing. Thus, Douglass, being a slave, was not allowed to learn reading or writing as well. His literacy came once by incident, then as a result of his persistence and continuous work to learn it. After the death of his owner Aaron Anthony, Frederick was sent to live with his grandmother. Then, Thomas Auld, Douglass’ previous owner son-in-law, became his master. Afterwards, Thomas sends him to his brother in Baltimore. Douglass refers to this as of a “divine providence”, for that here Douglass found a slavery that was not as the one in the plantation, where a slave would…show more content…
Thus, he started to teach himself without being recognized by his masters. He understood that his illiteracy would make him an obedient to the master because his mind would belong to his master, thus he would never be free. To him, reading was the key to his freedom, both in his mind and psychology and physically speaking. In the Autobiography he notes “The argument which he so warmly urged, against my learning to read, only served to inspire me with a desire and determination to learn.” (Douglass, 2010, p. 20). Colaiaco called Douglass a Prometheus of the Afro-Americans, for that his act of learning and becoming literal is an act of enlightening, enlightening himself, and later all the society. It was the reading of books that paved the way to freedom for him. Thus, Colaiaco notes Acquiring literacy was for Douglass a Promethean act of rebellion necessary for the achievement of freedom. Reading gave him access to books, in which he discovered liberating ideas that would sustain him throughout his life as an abolitionist and reformer. Reading newspapers that he picked up in the streets of Baltimore informed him of southern resistance to the abolition movement and the increasing sectional conflict between the North and the South over the issue of slavery. He soon realized that learning to write would enable him to wield the power of the pen on behalf of millions of oppressed people (Colaiaco, 2008, p.

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