Life And Times Of Frederick Douglass
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Life and Times of Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass was one of the most influential black men in the history of United States. Also, he is considered a symbol of struggle against slavery. The overall journey has never been easy for him as throughout his life, he went through many obstacles and hardships. However, his overall determination and will enable him to escape slavery. The individual experiences of Douglass are of high significance in the context of escaping from slavery (Douglass, Frederick, and Rayford Whittingham Logan).
The main target of slave owners was free blacks because this was the time when several free black individuals were residing in poor conditions and backward areas. The overall conditions for Black people were not favorable, and they were facing financial difficulties. The free Blacks were living with their families and children, and they needed to provide their families with bread and butter. Therefore, the adverse circumstances of Blacks served as an opportunity for Black capturers to get them. According to Black capturers, the runaway slaves were absconders and they should be captured in in case. The motive of Black capturers was to earn money out of slave trading, and that was the reason why they were in constant hunt of Black slaves.
Douglass was born as a slave but never he never liked and accepted slavery, and that is why he fought against it. Douglass did not fully experience the warmth of motherhood as he left her when he was six years of age. As he was a slave, so, he did not know that who actually his father was. Mother of Douglass was a worker in cornfield close to Holmes Hill, and probably her master may have been the father of Frederick Douglass. When Douglass was six, his grandmother took him to a journey which was full of uncertainty and fear. He reached a splendid house, his grandmother showed her three children and called them Douglass’s siblings. He got emotional when his grandmother was leaving him and saying good bye to him, he was a kid and wanted someone’s supervision, affection and care but slaves were not allowed these privileges. This was the time when he really understood the meaning of slavery.
Douglass always considered slavery as anti-human element, and throughout his childhood and adulthood he looked for different ways to escape slavery and struggle for a free state. Douglass was in Lloyd Planation and his mother was in Holmes Hill that is why she was unable to visit him due frequently. As a result, he last saw his mother when he was seven years of age. After the last visit to Douglass, his mother died but Douglass remained unaware of her death until much later. He started developing his sentiments against slavery, and one day he was told that he would be sent to live with another master named Auld (Douglass, Frederick, and Rayford Whittingham Logan). When he reached there, he was assigned duties to look after few things and provide care to Auld’s infant son named Tommy.
The wife of his master Sophia Auld was a kind lady and she was in practice of reading Bible. Frederick Douglass asked his mistress to teach him how to write because he was an intelligent kid who had a keen interest in writing and reading. Sophia Auld was a kind lady and she taught Douglass how to read, he was a quick leaner and learned alphabets. However, his master did not want him to learn and get educated because he was of the opinion that if a slave would get educated then who would serve them. Douglass kept learning and developed a good approach. Apart from Douglass’s intellectual abilities, he was fortunate enough to have received the guidance of kind-hearted lady like Sophia Auld. The education that Douglass received played an instrumental role to escape slavery personality as he realizes that education is the key element to freedom. Douglass gradually learned things and the knowledge that he acquired from books enabled him to think about the ways to escape from slavery and live as a free human being. Also, her dreams of liberation were motivated by the examples of other Black people in Baltimore who were free. However, the new laws passed by state legislators made it hard for the owners to liberate their slaves. Frederick was sent to Baltimore where his siblings were living. This was the time when he started to educate his fellow young Black children. He taught them how to read and write. The way he disliked slavery, he wanted other people from his community to hate slavery, and that is the reason why he took the initiative to educate them. Douglass was separated from his family and that is why he hated slavery to the core. Moreover, a Black preacher Charles Lawson took Frederick under his supervision and called him his spiritual son.
Frederick was sent to a William Freeland, a farmer who was a kind master. However, Frederick Douglass reached the point where he was not concerned about the kindness of the master, his major concern was the liberation from slavery and achieve freedom for his community. Douglass began an illegal school for Blacks in the area and it was also the step towards his mission. After a year of working for William Freeland, he completed the plan of his escape. Douglass formed a group and they stole a boat in an attempt to flee to a free state of Pennsylvania. The escape took place just before the Easter holidays in the year 1836. However, one of his associates revealed the plot and armed white men captured some of the slaves and put them in the jail. The overall journey was very difficult for Frederick Douglass as he worked hard to escape and for that he created the group of people who were his like-minded. He educated them and convinced him to escape. Unfortunately, when he was imprisoned, his plan seemed to be failing but he did not lose hope. During his imprisonment, slave traders inspected, and Douglass was expecting that he would be sold to some master. He was surprise, when Thomas Auld came and Douglass got released. Later, he was sent back to Hugh Auld in Baltimore.
In the leisure time, Frederick had a meeting with educated Black people and he emphasized on the overall need of the education. Douglass desperately wanted to do something for his community and wanted liberation for them. In this context, a few of the free Blacks made an educational associational known as the East Baltimore Mental Improvement Society. This was the point when Frederick Douglass improved his debating skills. Some meetings were conducted and in them Frederick met with a Free Black Woman named Anna Murray. Murray was a few years older than Frederick and was a servant to an affluent Baltimore family. Although Anna was an uneducated woman but still Douglass admired her qualities. He was fan of her religious approach and honestly.
Anna Murray also gave motivation to Douglass which further strengthened his plan to escape. Further, Frederick stated his plans to escape from slavery but he knew that things won’t be easy for him because of the professional guards that were patrolling the border. Frederick organized with Hugh Auld to hire his time that Frederick would look after his own room and board and would give his master an amount every week, thus, keeping some extra cash for himself. This also provided him with the opportunity to know as to how it means to live on his own. Later, borrowed money from Anna, and then purchased a ticket to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Also, he got advice of his friend who was sailor and got his protection, he got a certificate that the sailor was a free seaman. Douglass was dressed in a sailor’s red shirt and black crave, Frederick took the train. In the year 1838, Frederick reached New York. Finally, he successfully reached a free land, this was the time when he was a free man. He was overwhelmed with emotions, and he did not have suitable words to express his sentiments. There he thought that he was a free man but then he realizes that some slave trades are after Black people who escaped from slavery. So, he was being extra cautious. Also, in the year 1841, Douglass met with his hero Garrison, who was a great abolitionist. This also was an important point in the life of Douglass as his abilities was recognized by Garrison and he immediately and he was appointed as an agent for the society. From there on, Douglass never looked back and he worked whole heartedly for his community and the liberation of Black people.
Frederick Douglass was the name that he chose for himself after becoming a free man, previously his name was Frederick Bailey. He started writing about his experiences and the motivational factors that led to his freedom. His experiences and the overall approach served as the guiding principle for many Blacks and they started considering Frederick Douglass their hero. Although his writings somewhat threatened his freedom but he had an objective in mind which was to create awareness among Black people and that slavery is a curse and freedom is a fundamental right of every human being.
Eric Froners sheds light in his book about the overall experiences of Black people that in the mid-19th centuries some of the Black people tied to escape and the often slave traders considered it their responsibility to catch them again. Also, he said that by the year 1850, transportation system was well-mature and those who attempted to escape they made an escape in groups rather than individually. The slaves who wanted liberation, they used all the modes to make an escape, and many of them even risked their lives but this was their determination that they did not care about their life and all they wanted was the freedom. Sometimes to escape from slavery, the Black Salves stole boats and different, horses and other modes of transport which helped them to flee to other states. The slaves went through many tragedies when they were caught in groups, many of them were separated from their families and groups and were kept in detention cells. This was the tragic part of the history but this is the harsh reality that they faced in their lives. The south was armed with soldiers. In some areas, there were many forces who did not let people to escape. These soldiers were vigilant in their duties, and during their presence, it was mighty difficult for the Black slaves to make a successful escape. Also, during the time of slavery, it was one of the prime responsibilities of white men to keep an eye on the activities of the Black slaves if they ever make an attempt to escape.
The overall life was very tough and the laws were also not favoring Black slaves. In this regard, there are many similarities as far as the situation at the time and the overall life of Frederick Douglass is concerned. Frederick Douglass also attempted to make an escape in the group which was the common thing at that time. According to writer as there transportation modes were matured by the time and to escape the slaves could anything which could take them to their destination of freedom. In this context, Frederick Douglass and his group also took boat and as the writer mentioned about the strict patrolling and monitoring during that time. Frederick and his group also went through high security as the so many men were patrolling the border area and he had to disguise himself.
Therefore, Eric’s writing is based on reality as he drew a realistic sketch about the situation of that time when Black slaves were under strict monitoring by white men and the overall laws in the south were not favoring Black community as a whole. The writer also mentioned about the will and determination of different groups who were highly motivated to make an escape. In this context, the efforts of Douglass was praise worthy as he made an attempt in a group. Douglass was the major motivational force behind his group. Therefore, there are many similarities in the writing of Eric and the overall life of Douglass. The pain and agonies that the writer described in his writings were those that Douglass faced. Also, many of the slaves who successfully made an escape were those who had the will and determination. Douglass was the symbol of abolitionism, and he educated many Black people so that they can live a free life instead of being slaves.
Douglass, Frederick, and Rayford Whittingham Logan. The life and times of Frederick Douglass. Courier Corporation, 2003.
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