Frederick Douglass Essay

See full size imageThe Triumphant Journey of Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was born a slave in Tuckahoe Maryland. There is no date attached to his birth because as a slave, his birthday held no importance to record. His courageous journey began when he was separated by his mother as an infant. In Maryland, the men who operated the slave trade used the tradition of separating mothers and infants to gain more control. Frederick was told by others his father was a white man, who happened to be Fredericks early childhood master. Throughout his life, Frederick caught many breaks in terms of the locations he was sent to by slave owners. He was one of the rare slaves chosen to work for a family rather than perform labor at the prison-like plantations. Frederick schemed and fought to teach himself to read and write. In the end, Frederick decided to slowly save money so that when the time came for him to be transferred to work at a plantation; he would have the means to escape. Frederick Douglass escaped successfully, and replaced his last name with “Bailey,” for his protection. He married a woman named Anna Murray. The couple moved to Massachusetts where Frederick became an orator, writer and an abolitionist.

The profound way Douglass describes his accounts as a slave, are deeply attached to the facts surrounding America’s History on slavery. Merely reading facts cannot illustrate the extreme terror African Americans faced during the slave trades existence. Douglass also brought accounts of slavery in Maryland to the forefront, and exposed what kind of slave trade was really practiced there. During the Civil War, Maryland decided to take the Unions side which made the state less understood as a state filled with plantations. Also, the fact that Frederick Douglass not only taught himself to read and write, but wrote his novel himself justifies his accounts and experiences. He also wrote his narrative in a way that made the reader feel emotion. Even some of the fictional names Douglass chooses to use for the slave owners and overseers contained suggestive  undertones; for example, “Mr…. Severe.” Frederick Douglass’s narrative is eye opening and hard to ignore. Those not affecting by slavery during its existence might have found it easy to overlook the severity of the issue. “The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass,” painted a picture of slavery in America. His narrative gave people the ability to understand what slavery was, rather than just being aware of what slavery was.

This narrative re-introduced the harsh reality of what African American slaves faced in America. His novel was so easy to follow, internalize and understand because it was filled with such raw human emotion. Every American should be so grateful everyday that they live in a free country, and no longer face such a mass human violation like slaves had to endure. Fredrick Douglass exposes the psychological, physical and mental abuse in a way you can understand. Novels like this give people the chance understand the cruelty of slavery in the 1800’s, while educating them from an emotional standpoint. Douglass wrote the narrative in way that didn’t try to persuade readers to believe a certain way; he just told his story letting the reader make their own interpretation. It is hard not to relate to his story because as humans we all feel pain. After reading this I personally feel more grateful for everything I have. Today, our society is very spoiled; and reading this made me realize that fact even more. My favorite part of the novel is the beginning where Douglas explains how he, and most slaves; didn’t even know when they were born. They had their freedom and families stolen from them, along with their own identity. The fact that cows and horse’s had more records documented than humans slaves is beyond disturbing. Before this book I didn’t think about how important a birthday really is. It is just one day out of the year, but it is the beginning point on your map of life. The fact that Frederick Douglass persevered through his life successfully is another example of how people have the ability to get through almost everything. Frederick Douglass gave people a chance stop living in denial and recognizes slavery for what it truly was. When the book was first released it was a labeled as a “propaganda,” piece, but as the story became to resonate with more people it became a staple of historical literature. If anyone has a hard time internalizing slavery in America, they should immediately reference this novel.

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