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The Life of Frederick Douglas as Told by Himself

Essay by   •  December 12, 2010  •  Essay  •  669 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,355 Views

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The "Narrative of Frederick Douglass as told by himself" is the autobiography of a former slave, active abolitionist, brilliant writer, newspaper editor and a master orator for the public people.

Frederick Douglass begins the account of his life with the facts of his parents and birth, to the best of his memorable knowledge. He was born in "Tuckahoe, near Hillsborough, about twelve miles from Easton, in Talbot county, Maryland." (P.1) He states he has no authentic papers or personal knowledge of his actual birth date. His Mother name was Harriet Bailey. His father was a white man, and it was whispered that he was His first master. The authenticity of this knowledge is questionable though.

His master's name was Captain Aaron Anthony. After his master died Douglass was given to Anthony's daughter and wife of Captain Thomas Auld, Lucretia. He spent two years of his life on this plantation, where he had the fortunate and unfortunate experience of witnessing some tragic abuse.

I say unfortunate, because no one especially that young, should have to witness such gory and inhumane behavior. I say again, the reason for it being a fortunate sight , is that it opened up, even then the young, Douglass's eyes as to how wrong it was to treat any person in that way.

Between the age of seven and eight, Frederick was told he was to move to Baltimore with Mr. Hugh Auld. Mr. Auld hade a wife and a son, a Mrs. Sophia and Thomas. Douglass described Mrs. Sophia as " a white face beaming with the most kindly of emotions." (p.18) Frederick's new responsibility was to watch over and take care of little Thomas.

Mrs. Sophia, prior to her marriage had been a woman of her own means, and made a living by weaving. She had never been a slave holder before and knew virtually noting of how normal slave children should be brought up. One day Mr. Auld happened to walk in upon Sophia teaching Frederick the letters of the alphabet. He was extremely upset telling her how bad things could get if a slave was to become educated." Mr. Auld found out what was going on, and at once forbade Mrs. Auld to instruct me further, telling her, among other things, that it was unlawful, as well as unsafe, to teach a slave to read."(P.20)

During his stay in Baltimore he realized that the aforementioned conversation was a gift from God. His master could not have known how much he had helped

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