I just finished reading Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass, and I wanted to share my thoughts.
I assert most unhesitatingly, that the religion of the south is a mere covering for the most horrid crimes, — a justifier of the most appalling barbarity, — a sanctifier of the most hateful frauds, — and a dark shelter under, which the darkest, foulest, grossest, and most infernal deeds of slaveholders find the strongest protection. Were I to be again reduced to the chains of slavery, next to that enslavement, I should regard being the slave of a religious master the greatest calamity that could befall me. For of all slaveholders with whom I have ever met, religious slaveholders are the worst.
Written by Douglass himself, Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass is the first of his three autobiographies. Douglass was a former slave, abolitionist, writer, newspaper editor, and orator whose speeches and activism helped make the issue of slavery in America a national discussion. Upon his freedom, he was asked to tell his story at abolitionist meetings, later becoming a regular anti-slavery lecturer. By the time of the Civil War, Douglass had become one of the most famous Black men in the country, using his status to influence the role of African Americans in the war and their status in the country.
In this autobiography, he provides graphic details of his childhood experiences as a slave as well as a record of his escape to the North. The content in this book is humbling, to say the least. Douglass describing life on a plantation—minimal clothing, having to sleep on the cold and wooden floor next to his family, having to work in every weather condition, and the lack of food—made it a hard to get through. But his detailed accounts of seeing family members/friends being whipped, the beatings he received, and the feeling of sadness that came from hearing the slaves sing their sorrows almost made me stop reading.
He advised that his mistress taught him his A B C’s as a child, and he eventually learned how to read and write once he became a young man; which led him to write his own passes. There are many other details that I’d love to share, but I don’t want to give too much away. However, I would like to encourage all of those who have an interest in African American history to start investing in autobiographies from former slaves and other Black American history books. These are much-needed narratives that we should have in our libraries, that way we’ll never forget what many would like us to forget.
Until Next Time…
Frederick Douglass Biography Journalist, Civil Rights Activist, Author, Government Official (c. 1818–1895). (2014, April 2). Retrieved December 16, 2018, from https://www.biography.com/people/frederick-douglass-9278324