Today’s society was raised in a society that for the most part is an equal opportunity society. Fortunately none of the members of the today’s United States has ever had to live or experience what the effects of slavery really are like. The torture or the persecution that the slaves were forced to go through. Many did live through the last stages of the civil rights movement. It is very hard for many of us to grasp the reality that these people were truly treated like possessions and not like people. Frederick Douglass, as is now known to us, was born a slave.
He was separated from his mother not long after he was born and like many other slave children had no idea who his father was. He grew up as a young slave on Captain Lloyd’s plantation. Mr. Lloyd was a very wealthy man and had several different overseers on this plantation. They were mainly cruel people, like Captain Lloyd, and cared very little about the slaves. He had very many slaves in general and their living conditions were very poor and didn’t provide the slaves with very much. Frederick was very young and was not forced to do as much as the older slaves but life for him was very hard.
He left Captain Lloyd’s plantation when he was about eight and moved to a plantation in Baltimore. The lady he was beneath soon took to Frederick and began to teach him his basic alphabet and a few small words. This started his quest to learn how to read and become a productive citizen. He was soon forced to move to a new plantation under a new master. He lived with his new master, Mr. Hughs, for about seven years. During this time he refined his reading skills and began to read different materials.
It was during these readings that he began to realize certain things that had kept from him when he was illiterate. The thought of remaining a slave for the rest of his life made him very angry and at times he regretted learning how to read. His next master was Mr. Freeland. He acquired Frederick after Captain Lloyd’s daughter died and Mr. Freeland hired him. She had the rights to Frederick when a few years back Captain Lloyd had died as well. Mr. Freeland was a better master than any of the past masters Frederick had. He provided the slaves with plenty of food and gave them an opportunity to eat it.
Usually after an altercation with any of the plantation owners a slave would be publicly whipped. Frederick never was and he began to befriend all of the slaves. He began to spread his knowledge of reading and writing with all of the other slaves. After many private meetings and discussions, Frederick finally convinced many of the slaves to try and escape with him. He wrote the passes necessary for all of the slaves and they planned their journey for freedom. How ever, the authorities found out about the planned escape and showed up and took all of the slaves to jail.
When they all denied their plan and the police had no evidence to incriminate them so they were forced to release all of them. Soon after his release Frederick went back to Baltimore. He began working for Mr. Hugh and was actually getting paid for his work. Unfortunately for Frederick he had to give his buck-fifty that he was making to his master. He got in many fights and got beat severely one night. There was nothing that he could do because there were no white men that would testify on his behalf. Soon he went back to work and began to devise a plan of escape for himself.
The idea and concept of total freedom was still deeply embedded in his head. He felt terrible because he could not take the friends that he had made with him. He believed that if he was able to be free then the slaves that he lived with should be able to be free as well. He finally got the nerve up and left the plantation, by himself. He had a very difficult time trusting people so this made it very tough for him to find someone to help him. He met a free woman named Anna and they eventually got married. They left and moved to New Bedford.
When they arrived there a man, Mr. Johnson and his wife took them in. Frederick and Mr. Johnson decided to change his last name to Douglass. Growing up as a slave Frederick had gotten used to changing his name, fortunately this was the last change he would endure. In three days, after looking into different areas Frederick found a job that he could be self-employed. He tried to get a job working as a caulker but the employers hired white men first, so he did not get the job. He settled in and began to make a respectable living for himself and Anna.
He soon subscribed to the local paper and was a faithful reader. This made Frederick very happy with his life as well as his place in society. This is a true story of a person overcoming the odds and coming from being an object to becoming a productive human. With the opportunities that are laid in front of our faces it really brings to reality how fortunate we are. With very little effort, compared to Frederick, we can obtain a college degree. Which in most cases will ensure our success. So my respect and my hat go off to Mr. Douglass.