Fredrick Douglass was a writer and an abolitionist who escaped slavery in 1838. His father is unknown and was taken from his mother after birth then taken to live with his grandmother until he was six. After that he started going through the process of being passed down by slave owners and new masters. His first owner let his brother, in Baltimore, have him for the time being and while there, the brother’s wife taught Douglass to read. At that time it was highly dangerous to teach a slave to read or for a slave to have the gift of reading but when was new to the slavery system and didn’t know of that it was illegal. After the wife’s husband found this out, he claimed that it was risky and that if slaves knew how to read, there would be a higher chance of their escape which was not what they wanted. This probably stirred Douglass more toward what he should be doing.

He tried to escape many times and after many failed tries, he finally managed to flee into a free state where he married a free black woman and started a woman. In New York with his developing family, he began to attend abolitionist meetings, meeting of people opposing the slavery system. Soon he was a well known leader in the community and in 1845 published his autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, seven years after he escaped slavery.

Having the ability to read, was a gift for a slave but when Douglass had this precious knowledge stored inside him, with no way to pull it out, he was given harsher treatment from his owners and slave owners. This caused Douglass to have bitter thoughts, that having the ability of reading was not a gift but a curse, a burden, a tormenting yes valuable talent. Despite these thoughts, Douglass’s reading skills proved useful many times. What his first owner’s brother said was very true, having the potential to read made it easier for slaves to escape. Then later, he attended these abolitionist meetings and even published an autobiography.

I don’t think I have an event that shook me the same way, reading shook Douglass. It affected himself and his life in both good and bad ways. I can’t recall a major event or happening that changed my life so much. Not yet.

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