Frederick Douglass was the most famous African-American of the 19th century and his life story continues to inspire people around the world.The book was first published in November 2011.
Douglass’ turbulent life was full of pressures and controversy at each stage. He traveled widely and was frequently away from his dysfunctional family. His first wife, “Anna” was largely illiterate, but she devoted her life to him and their five children during their 43 years of marriage.
The need for money was a constant concern for Douglass, both to fund his newspapers and to help support his adult sons and son in law.
He was born into slavery as Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey in Talbot County, Maryland in 1817 or 1818. When he was still a lad, he was sent to work as a house servant. Black slaves on plantations were not considered to be human beings and were treated that way.
Douglass escaped slave who fled brutal treatment and became a radical abolitionist, world-renowned author of three classic autobiographies, a noted journalist and editor, a public intellectual, one of the greatest orators of his time and a prominent government official.
The author talks about the food being thrown into a trough for them to eat like pigs with no eating implements. The kids who were fastest got the most food.
Douglass never lost his faith as he suffered the many ordeals as a slave his faith and a spirit of hope got him through. There were a few instances where his spirit was broken and he didn’t want to go on.
A defining moment in his life was when he was sent from his master’s plantation “Colonel Lloyd”, on loan to Mr and Mrs “Hugh Auld” to take care of their little son Thomas.
This moment shaped Douglass’ life because it was a start to freedom and many years later when he was eventually able to sit at his own desk in a happy home writing his autobiography, he realized this.
Mrs Auld was unlike other whites, she spent time teaching young Douglass the alphabet and how to spell simple words, and like a sponge, he soaked up the knowledge. When Mr. Auld found out, he forbade his wife to continue.
Mr. Auld said: ‘If you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell. A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master to do as he is told to do, learning would spoil the best nigger in the world.”
Douglass got hold of the book, “The Columbian Orator” which was a discourse between master and a slave who had run away three times. In the end, the runaway slave’s great oratory skill led to his emancipation.
This book had a profound impact on Douglass’ life. And it’s a book he would read over and over. The more Douglass read it the more he understood the content of the book and the more he grew to detest his enslavers.
The story is an autobiography, so you see in very graphic details some of the things he suffered at the hands of slave owners who abused power in 1838.