Douglass was a man born into slavery. He never was taught anyway to know what the day was so he states that he never knew his birthday. Douglass' young life was filled with work and watching other slaves as they were beaten for not doing as they were told. He recounts awakening to hear his aunt screaming in pain. "I have often been awakened at the dawn of day by the most heart-rending shrieks of an own aunt of mine, whom he used to tie up to a joist, and whip her naked back until she was covered in blood."
At the time he was born, a slave child was not allowed to stay with their mother more than a couple months. He spent his childhood under the care of an older woman, who was kept as a slave just to raise the children. "I never saw my mother, to know her as such, more than four or five times in my life; and each of these times was a very short duration, and at night. " After that, the mother was sent off to another location so that the child would not have any ties to her.
Douglass also was not given much interaction or knowledge of his father other than knowing that his master was his father. "My father was a white man. He was admitted to be such by all I ever heard speak of my parentage." Having his master as his father made his treatment even less appealing. It would seem that his master treated him even worse because that was his son, so as not to let the other slaves know anything. He came from a mixed parentage and was often looked down on for being "yellow." He never had a kind word spoken to him by his father and to this day is not sure if his master really was his father but believes such because that is what he was always told.
The treatment of the slaves was incredibly vile and unjust. Slaves were beaten mercilessly and even murdered. In Talbot County, murdering a slave was never punished mostly because the other slaves were the only ones to ever see it and they weren't qualified witnesses. "It was committed in the presence of slaves, and they of course could neither institute a suit, nor testify against him; and thus the guilty perpetrator of one of the bloodiest and most foul murders goes unwhipped of justice, and uncensured by the community in which he lives." Douglass recounts several murders of slaves he knew personally. He speaks of a slave named Demby. Demby was whipped mercilessly by Mr. Gore down by the creek. When it got to be too painfully, Demby jumped into the water to soothe the stinging of the lashes. Mr. Gore commanded him to get out of the water and back to him. He was given three calls to get out of the creek. When on the third call, he still refused to get out of the water, Mr. Gore raised his musket and fired, killing Demby instantly.
Douglass also recalls a young girl probably around thirteen years old. She worked for her master's wife, taking care of the baby. She had not had any sleep in a few days and fell asleep while watching the child one night. She did not awaken...