However, this is the first time Ive actually read any of his writings and I was blown away, utterly, by the intellect, character and strength of this American hero. I can imagine few people in a generation with the combination of intelligence, strength of character, sense of morality, charity and indomitable will as Frederick Douglass. Here is a man who, as a slave with little or no free time to himself, spent every spare moment he had teaching himself to read and write. While there are many aspects of the narrative that are worthy of note (the quality of prose, the excellent balance between details and pace and the fascinating events described), the most memorably impressive thing to me was the tone used by Frederick Douglass to describe his life and the people he came in contact with during his time both as a slave and after securing his freedom. Despite having seen and personally endured staggering brutality at the hands of white slave owners, Douglass never, NEVER comes across as bitter or hate-filled towards all white people. After finishing this inspirational, never-be-the-same autobiography, Frederick Douglass has joined my pantheon of American heroes right along side George Washington and John Adams.
That white men were imposing a structure of equality and entitlement that placed them at the top, and everyone else far beneath them. Indeed America's much lauded equality didn't apply to Blacks as they property not people.
This is a remarkable achievement considering it is written in such a straight forward manner by a man who taught himself to read. It was written by a close friend of his who argues that in comparison with other tales of slavery, Douglass subjugation was mild and not too bad. However, Douglass became wise to his enforced ignorance; he quickly learnt that his path to freedom resided in his education. So, after a few brief lessons with a kind, and temporary, mistress he set about learning how to read in any way he could; he learnt from dockworkers and poor white children, and began to see a route to liberty through his increasing knowledge of the world. He learnt to strike back with such vigour that his master, who had a reputation for breaking unruly slaves, actually began to fear Douglass. It seems rather ironic to speak of a slave as having such luck, but when considering that very few successfully escaped their bonds it becomes clear that Douglass had a very fortunate opportunity in front of him. In truth, very few were allowed such liberty, and in the process presented with a narrow window of escape, which Douglass quickly leapt through. Instead, Douglass provides you with the harsh, and straightforward, truth of his life.
Douglass' description of the cruel conditions of slavery is mind-searing.
With these, I learned mainly how to write."As with Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, I feel as though I should start by reiterating these simple truths about the narrative: Yes, Douglass did write this book himself; No, he was not against Christianity, only a staunch opponent of hypocritical Christians; No, he did not promote hatred of man - his hate was of slavery. This is Douglass' grandmother he speaks of, the woman who after raising generations of her "master's" family, after increasing her "master's" wealth by training generations of her family, she is sent out into the woods in her old age, to live her remaining years alone, while her family is taken away from her and sold. We don't see this highlighted too often, just as we don't see this too often: those black slave women given the separate concubine's houses in the country, where the children were raised. I tried to envision how a slave like Douglass could ever become close to a woman, after viewing the treatment of his mother, aunt, and grandmother (later, his wife and daughter will die before he did).
Book Review I first read the biographical introduction about Frederick Douglass and learned many new things. They were excellent introductions to the narrative by Frederick Douglass. They set the mood and get you ready to experience a whole new set of emotions when you read Douglass Life of an American Slave, etc. All I can say about book 1 is that I was utterly repulsed by what I read. In Book 2, at least we learn that the slaves are treated a little better at times. I often thought that it was just a game to see how many times they could whip a slave or get him/her to do wrong. By the end of Book 6, we learn that Douglass has learned how to read and write. Also, during this time, he tells the readers that it is better off to be dead than to be a black slave in 19th century America. In later books we learn that it is especially horrible when you have been treated nicely as a slave and then you go to a plantation where they treat you despicably. Douglass also tells how he was shipped all over the place whenever his masters died or got tired of him. here's the scoop: I read A LOT.
It is a difficult book to read, to be sure, but ought still be required reading, Frederick Douglass' story should be known to all Americans, representative as it is to the suffering of the thousands upon thousands of people who built this nation. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a brief book, written about Mr. Douglass' life as a slave as a child and teenager, before escaping the cruel clutches of slavery as a young adult.
Delany to publish a weekly anti-slavery newspaper, North Star. Douglass was the only man to speak in favor of Elizabeth Cady Stanton's controversial plank of woman suffrage at the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p1...