Is it possible for one of our times, living in the free United States, to be bonded in the institution of slavery? One hundred and fifty years have past now since slavery was abolished. The institution of slavery kept the deprivation of women legal and the learning of the mind illegal. Among the slaves, there could be no men, or else that slave would not be a slave. Frederick Douglas existed among slavery only to later on escape and gain his freedom from those who oppressed and enslaved him. The masters of slaves were determined to keep their slaves ignorant so that they would not even think of freedom or the joys it. Slaveholders tried to keep their slaves happy, but yet under their control. Douglas would not stand for this. It was his intelligence, bravery, and determination that made Frederick Douglas a man and not a slave.
Frederick Douglas was born and raised a slave. He had no other life in his youth. The harsh conditions of the institution forced Frederick to crawl into a bag at night and sleep on the cold ground with his head in the bag and his feet outside of it. This form of sleeping led his feet to be cracked with frost so badly that one could stick a pen into the gashes. Douglas and the other slaves were not fed a regular allowance of food. Him and the other children were called and eat coarse corn meal from a large wooden tray that was put on the ground. The children would be forced to eat like pigs gathered around left over mush.
At the age of seven or eight years old, Frederick left Colonel Lloyd’s (a prominent slaveholder) plantation to live in Baltimore, Maryland with Mr. Hugh Auld. Mr. Auld was a man who had never bonded a slave and knew very little of the keepings of them. Neither did his wife, who (without the knowledge of its repercussions) taught Frederick how to read. After Mr. Auld forbade his wife to teach Douglas, Frederick decided he would learn anyway. He tried to read newspapers and was forbidden. Whenever Frederick was left alone, he would attempt to read only to have Mr. Auld come and snatch away whatever reading material he had. The little that Frederick was taught was enough for him to go into the streets and receive his lessons from the boys whom he was acquainted with. Though Mrs. Auld refused to teach him, Douglas was determined to learn and he did. Determination was the first step that led the boy in Douglas to becoming a man.
Learning how to read illuminated Douglas’ mind. It allowed him to see a light in a dark tunnel. It allowed him to find the key, to unlock his chains. This one great skill allowed him to see that slavery was wrong. He was no longer ignorant, nor could anyone keep him that way. Learning to Douglas was a “grand achievement” and he prized it highly. He realized that the only thing that kept him a slave was the neglect of enlightenment. It was his newly found intelligence that forced Douglas to act brave and resistant. His learning in...