Rate this paper
  • Currently rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
4.00 / 4
Paper Topic:

Why do you think it was important for slave owners to keep slaves ignorant about their birthdays and parentage? Douglass opens his story by telling us that he is troubled by not knowing when he was born. Why is this fact so important to him?

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass is one of the most famous slaves in our nations history . Most

have heard of him however they may not know just what an influential force he was

during an era of oppression , injustice , tyranny , and slavery . His voice during the

abolitionist movement was powerful and resonated with slaves both near and far and this

made him a poster child for their emancipation

Frederick Douglass celebrated his birthday on February 14th , 1818 though it is

unknown if this is exactly when he was born

. Due to the nature of the slave trade , many

slaves had no idea when their exact date of birth was . It was likely that records were not

even kept and many slave owners were steadfast about keeping their servants ignorant of

a variety of things including : parentage , date of birth , place of birth and obtaining

education . It was a great fear of many slave owners , their captors may learn to read and

write , therefore become knowledgeable to the ways of the world , and finally escape to

freedom . Frederick Douglass found that knowledge was key to liberation and he found

many ways to go about obtaining this desire

He was determined to be free and help other slaves in the process Mr . Douglass

was rather fortunate to have been under the ownership of Hugh Auld whose wife taught

him how to read at age twelve . Mr . Auld enlightened his wife to the fact that teaching

slaves how to read was against the law . He , along with most slave traders did not want

their slaves feeling discontent with their life and incidentally attempting to break free

This caused Frederick to feel an even greater need to get out from under this oppressive

life . Although it was a struggle and was perilous to his life , he came up with creative

ways to learn how to read after Mrs . Auld no longer taught him . He made friends with

white children in Baltimore who were very poor . One advantage Frederick had was that

he had been given plenty of food to eat so he stowed it away . He traded the food with the

white kids in exchange for knowledge . By doing this , he learned how to read well but

writing was a different matter . He copied letters from his Masters copybooks in to

learn how to write . All of this gave him the confidence in believing he is just as much of

a human being as any white man and impetus to want to be free . He became aware of the

different ways his slave masters tried to keep him from thinking about freedom and

continued on his quest for knowledge

While Douglass was employed by another owner , he was able to teach his fellow

slaves how to read and write at school on Sundays . This place had to remain top secret

but soon slaves from nearby farms would show up to learn how to read and write . It was

a fortunate turn of events for...

Not the Essay You're looking for? Get a custom essay (only for $12.99)