The Life Mission of Fredrick Douglass

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a biography of Fredrick Douglass and it is such a tribute to him, and his work.

Submitted: March 03, 2008

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Submitted: March 03, 2008

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The life Mission of Fredrick Douglass

 

Martin Luther King Jr. is credited with many promoting minorities rights during the civil rights movement, but Fredrick Douglass was among the first, at a time when it could have meant certain death. Fredrick Douglass was an American slave born sometime in February 1818, and lived until his death on February 20th 1895. During Douglass's life he wrote, and spoke about the daily life style as an American slave. Douglass published his first piece of work in 1845, and gave us the first glimpse into a slave’s life. One might ask, why did Douglass feel so compelled to write books, and orate so many speeches in a time that he could have had severe penalties? Douglass wrote and preached to educate all people of the atrocity of slavery. He stressed that all men are equal, and he wanted to bring hope to slaves nation-wide. Douglass’s work is powerful because he is writing from a first person point of view. He lived the life of an American slave.

Douglass’s first published work is a testament to the atrocity that many slaves experienced while living on the plantations and farms. Fredrick Douglass’s mother was named Harriet Bailey, but Fredrick never knew his mother. When a mother would give birth to a child they were usually sold or moved off to another owner or another farm within twelve months. Fredrick never understood why white children could tell of their age, but he never was allowed to know. All this seemed very unfair to him, and he knew it was not the right way to be. Living life on the farm as a child gave Douglass many horrific experiences to recall. The atrocities he encountered were unbearable. He recalls his aunt Hester being beaten until she could bear no more. “The louder she screamed, the harder he whipped; and where the blood ran fastest, there he whipped longest.” (Page 23 Narrative) This was done by the overseer named Mr. Plummer. He was overseer on the first plantation Douglass was enslaved at. It was owned by Captain Anthony. Mr. Plummer was capable of beating women until they were unrecognizable. “He always went armed with a cow skin, and a heavy cudgel.” (Page 22 Narrative) It is beneficial to us that Fredrick left a record of these accounts for us to read and learn from our history. We need a first hand account of the atrocities, to ensure that time does not erode the horrendousness of slavery.

Fredrick Douglass gave us insight into the horrifying truth of how slaves were treated, he wanted to stress that all men are equal. Whether a man is colored, or if he is white as snow we are the same in the eyes of God. Douglass wanted to show everyone that African Americans are not indifferent to the prejudices. “I am not included within the pale of the glorious anniversary!…” Exclaimed Douglass in his “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” speech. This speech was such a great moment for Fredrick as a young and ambitious orator. In his speech he spoke of many important issues explaining the meaning of Fourth of July, for the slave. He spoke about the separation between the African Americans and the whites, how independence is not theirs, as it is for the whites. In order to prove that we are equal, he looked to the Declaration of Independence for hope in the future. A large portion of this speech was spent proving that slaves are indeed human, and that African Americans do, contribute to what God has intended. “There are seventy-two crimes in the state of Virginia which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment.” Stated Fredrick during his speech. Slaves had severe penalties when committing a crime, while not as much attention was turned to the same crime committed by a white man. “We are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men.” Fredrick also argued that they are equal to us in the way of tending to all the same things that whites do. Such as, living in family’s as husbands. The African American is a human, and a contributor to the majesty of God.

Hope is important to the human race. It keeps us strong, and helps us persevere. Fredrick Douglass believed that slavery would end someday, and looked to the Declaration of Independence for hope. “The arm of the Lord is not shortened, and the doom of slavery is certain.” ( speech) Douglass really wanted to preach to all slaves that there is hope, and that their bondage will not last forever. He believes that time will bring change, “Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago.” (speech) Douglass knows that the country, along with the world, is changing. Douglass gave slaves hope that change would change the future, forever, and they would no longer live the atrocity of slavery, and they would know peace.

Fredrick Douglass spent many of his years publishing, and orating material. His goal was to show and to educate all people of the atrocities of slavery, to show the equality of blacks, and give hope to end slavery to all people. All who read or hear his work should really appreciate the fact that the author has a first-hand account of how slavery really was, and just how courageous he was to say so. Douglass wanted to give slaves hope, and hoped one day there would be peace.


© Copyright 2017 Ryan Jacob. All rights reserved.

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