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The Life Of Frederick Douglass Essay

2012 words - 9 pages

Escaping slavery in 1838, Frederick Douglass informed citizens of the cruel abuse that many slaves and he experienced from their masters. Frederick Douglass was a self-educated African American while also being under the chains of slavery. As Douglass rises to admiration upon abolitionists, he writes many stories describing the difficulties and encounters he witnessed and experienced as a slave. In the book, The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Douglass describes the clothing, food and horrific conditions he overcame as a slave.
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery by his estranged mother, Harriet Bailey and his unknown white father, assumed to be Captain Anthony. Like the majority of slaves, Douglass is unknown of his actual birthdate, rumored to be born around Valentine’s Day in the year 1817 or 1818. Generally, a slave owner will keep his slaves uninformed by keeping simple information from them, such as birth dates and their biological father. Those who were mixed, black and white, were beaten and whipped, and were worse off than those of darker skin, due to the overseers’ wife’s growing suspicion of her husband interrelating with a slave. As part of the transition to becoming a slave, Douglass was taken from his mother to break the natural mother and child bond. As a child, Douglass lived with his grandmother and rarely saw his mother. On rare occasions, his mother would travel twelve miles to his farm after she finished all her work to see him as he slept. Douglass’ mother passed away, as usual, he is not allowed to attend her funeral. All slaves were treated as if they were not human and not allowed to have privileges white people experienced.
Overworked and exhausted, slaves were living in horrible conditions and experienced the most inhumane way to live. Receiving extremely scarce amounts of clothing, food and no bed. All the slaves were forced to sleep on a cold and brittle floor. Meanwhile, others spent the night preparing for the next day but those who slept were just thankful the day was over. When getting clothing, slaves were given only two linen shirts, a pair of shoes, stockings, one jacket and a pair of trousers, one for winter and casual weather. The cost of the clothing was less than seven dollars, in which most children around the ages of seven and ten would go naked due to the lack of clothing. The food given to the slaves were cornmeal and some pork. As told by Douglass, those who ate fastest and were the strongest got the most food, leaving many slaves running on an empty stomach.
As a young child, Douglass witnessed a very gruesome attack of his very own Aunt Hester, who had been in the company of Ned, another slave. Watching the gruesome attack, Douglass describes the fury and the blood seeping from his Aunt Hester’s wounds. The gruesome attack is depicted as the end of his childhood and innocence. As a small child, he was not qualified for doing field work or any heavy labor,...

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