MacKenzie PowersHST 142 Dr. QuirkDecember 1, 2016Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American SlaveNarrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave published by Penguin Classics in 2014 is an autobiography of the self-freed slave Frederick Douglass. This book describes what it was like to live as a slave before the abolition of slavery and talks about Douglass’ life in slavery, his experiences and the experiences of other slaves – what he saw for himself. The harshness of the whippings and people taking great joy in marginalizing others, believing that one life is more important than another. Many overseers of the slaves on the plantations showed no mercy, because to them it would be a sign of weakness. This book helps to understand what life was like for African American slaves during that time. Frederick Douglass was born into slavery as Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey in Talbot County, Maryland in either 1817 or 1818. His mother, Harriet Bailey, wasa black woman, whereas his unknown father was a white male. Before 12 months of age, Douglass and his mother were separated. He saw her 4 or 5 times his whole life. His mother died when Douglass was around 7 years old, leaving him no clues as to whohis father was. Some of Douglass’s first impressions of slavery were from Mr. Plummer. Mr. Plummer, Douglass’s overseer around the age of 7, was “a cruel man, hardened by a long life of slaveholding…he would at times seem to take great pleasure in whipping a
slave” (Douglass 20).Slaves received little monthly food allowance, two shirts, one pair of trousers, one jacket, one pair of stockings and one pair of shoes. Slaves were not given beds therefore, they slept on the cold damp floor and they must always obey rulesand go to work when told. The slave owners would send spies among slaves to find out what was going on at all times. During this period, killing a slave, or any colored person,was not treated as a crime, either by the courts or the community.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 6 pages?