Frederick Douglass: The Path To Freedom

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Reading: The Path to Freedom Frederick Douglass, who was once a slave, became one of the most influential African American human rights leader during the Abolitionist movement. His full birth name was Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey and he was born on a plantation in Talbot County, Maryland (Hagler, D. Harland, 2013). There is no record of his birth so it is not clear what the exact date is. Douglass celebrated it on February14 and believed the year to be 1817, although researchers have found that the year 1818 was probably more accurate Hagler, D. Harland, 2013). Most slaves did not know much, if anything, of their birth. As a young child, Frederick Douglass knew very little about his slave mother. She lived on another plantation and died when he was around 7 years old (Biography, 2014). His father was an unknown white man, possibly a slave master (Noll, p.76). Douglass lived with his grandmother, Betsy Baily…show more content…
Slave owners purposely tried to keep their slaves from learning these skills. Keeping slaves “ignorant”, so to speak, was a key part of the institution of slavery. A slave who could not read or write was without the “knowledge” of the wrong doings of the white salve owners (Goehring, 2012). Learning to read and eventually write was the most important thing for Douglass. This would open doors to his “Path to Freedom”. In a chapter from Douglass’ autobiography, called “Learning How to Read and Write”, he describes how he felt about his mistress teaching him his alphabet. He states “she did so as a tender-hearted woman; and in the simplicity of her soul she commenced, when I first went to live with her, to treat me as she supposed one human being ought to treat another” (Douglass, 1845). I think this is when Douglass really begins to understand about slavery and his rights as a human being and NOT just a
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