Learning To Read And Write Essay

1048 words - 4 pages

Learning to Read & Write
Frederick Douglas was born into the slave trade in Talbot County, Maryland. He was sent to work on a plantation for the Hugh’s Family for about seven years. This is the location where his learning truly began. His mistress was a “kind, tender-hearted, woman” who treated Frederick as a human instead of property the family owned. This was a dangerous thing for both parties at this time in history it was considered wrong. Frederick States “Slavery proved as injurious to her as it did to me” which I see the connection he had made to her change of personality because of slavery. She had heavenly qualities that slavery was able to divest from her. It was injurious to Fredrick not only for the lashings a salve would receive but to have his former teacher stopped teaching him. Beginning to follow her husband’s teaching who forbid her to teach the slaves she became violent. Douglas says “nothing made her more angry than to see me with a newspapers” and that resulted in her rushing Frederick with a face of fury taking the paper away. His former mistress who gave him his first lesson expressed her new found apprehension to education and slavery co-existing. His mistress gave him an inch by teaching Douglas the alphabet now he was about to take the mile. He began to make friends with the white boys he would meet in the streets while running errands in town. Frederick always took a book and bread when he left for town. The boys who were willing to teach him would be paid in bread which he was allowed to have plenty of. The white boys who were teaching him where considerable poor in comparison to the family that referred to Frederick “chattel”. Young Frederick spoke powerful words to two his teachers who lived on Philpot Street that left them both troubled, “You will be free as soon as you are twenty-one, but I am a slave for live! Have not I as good a right to be free as you have?” This is such a powerful statement from the mind of a child younger the 12 at this age the thought of being a salve for life was weighing heavily on his heart and mind. This is when his education reached him through a book titled “The Columbian Orator” in which he read dialogue between a slave who fled from his master three times. Once returned the third time his master brought the argument for slavery to the slave. The slave disposed the master’s argument and replied with something so “smart and impressive” says Douglas that the conversation results in the master voluntary releasing the slave. This was the hope that Frederick Douglas needed to continuity living under his oppressors. He was gaining the proof that “the power of truth over the conscience of even a slaveholder. A bold denunciation of slavery and a powerful vindication of human rights.” What his mistresses’ husband hoped to rob from the slaves was their intelligence and knowledge of human right. Something as...

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