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Frederick Douglass Essay

832 words - 4 pages

Kofi Annan (1938), a former secretary-general once said, “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” Knowledge is a source for progress and a tool for power. In his story as a slave, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass, a boy born into slavery, learns how to read and write. As a child, Douglass had no knowledge about his age, the date, or his biological father. During his early childhood, he had little to no contact with his mother. Soon after she died, he had no choice but to work on the plantation as a slave for the rest of his life without knowing his family. Throughout his life as a slave, ...view middle of the document...

Douglass goes out of his way to learn how to read by looking at the markings on pieces of timber. By using the resources around, as to the most of his ability, Douglass teaches himself how to read and write.
Douglass’ slave holders use the power of knowledge to keep him from the truth about slavery. Soon after moving to Boston, Douglass’ kind mistress starts giving him basic school lessons. When Mr. Auld finds out, he becomes furious and forbids Mrs. Auld to teach him anymore because, “It would make him forever unfit as a slave” (Douglass 34). Douglass uses Mr. Auld’s obvious oppression against him learning how to read as a drive for him to learn. While working for Mr. Covey, Douglass had to do manual labor like driving oxen or taking care of crops. Douglass explained this work as, “. . . simple, requiring strength rather than intellect, yet . . . it came very hard (Douglass 60). Douglass would much rather work using his brain than running around like a horse or gardener and tending to the fields. Mr. Covey restricts Douglass from working in such an environment; since, he lives as a slave. Later, Douglass thanks Mr. and Mrs. Auld from keeping him from learning how to read: “I owe it almost as much to the bitter opposition of my master, as to the kindly aid of my mistress” (Douglass 34).  Without Mr. and Mrs. Auld, Douglass would have never would have had the drive to learn . With multiple slaveholders who keep him from learning how...

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