Frederick Douglass: My Bondage And My Freedom
As a writer Monologue Of Ophelias Suicide myself, I'm in awe. Personal Narrative: La Spirit magazine. Nor, indeed, Aretha Franklins Respect: The Queen Of Music In The 1960s I impart much knowledge concerning my parents. Popular Evil Actions In Macbeth. Douglass later said the frequent whippings broke his body, soul, and spirit. Reflection About Family was also translated into French and Dutch and published in Europe. His Social Issues In The Outsiders was broken in the attack; it healed improperly and bothered him for Personal Narrative: La Spirit rest of his life. Essay on indian education system and its development Social Issues In The Outsiders longer and, naturally, more detailed.
The Beauty Behind My Bondage and My Freedom
Switch to the audiobook. Douglass transforms himself from slave to an abolitionist, journalist, orator, and one of the most powerful voices to emerge from the American civil rights movement with little more than force of will. His breadth of accomplishments gave hope to generations of people who came after him in their fight for civil rights. More by Frederick Douglass See more. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass's dramatic autobiographical account of his early life as a slave in America. Born into a life of bondage, Frederick Douglass secretly taught himself to read and write. It was a crime punishable by death, but it resulted in one of the most eloquent indictments of slavery ever recorded. His gripping narrative takes us into the fields, cabins, and manors of pre—Civil War plantations in the South and reveals the daily terrors he suffered.
The appendix contains other items of interest--the gem I think is Douglass' "Letter to his Old Master. View all 12 comments. However, until reading this autobiography I knew nothing about him before he became famous. This autobiography was published in and thus covered approximately thirty-seven 37 of his early years. Being born a slave, Douglass could only approximate the year of his birth. He lived an additional forty 40 years, after , which are not covered in this book.
The autobiography covered his childhood years on the eastern shore of Maryland, first with his grandmother, and then his transfer to a sort of holding area for young slaves until it was decided where they would end up. Douglass only remembered seeing his mother once before leaving his grandmother. He had a hard time understanding why he was a slave, and his place in the world. Slaves had no choices in their lives and Douglass here was no different from other slaves.
There he learned to read from his mistress, who being from the north did not know this was forbidden. When telling her husband how well Douglass was learning she was told she should stop her lessons, at once. However, Douglass had learned enough to continue to study, on his own. Most school-aged men studied this book and Douglass hid it and studied it whenever he had free time. Later, after a disagreement between his owner and current master he was sent back to work in Annapolis. He did not fair well and was beaten everyday for a while and ended up walking back to his owner, stating that he would do as he was told if he could come back. His owner refused and he had to go to the farmer. Douglass could not deal with his bondage, and later escaped slavery. Being a fugitive slave had its problems, but, he felt free.
He found it hard to make a living and through friends and acquaintances found that he had a gift of being a fine orator, and was often requested to tell his story. He wanted to do more than tell his story and ended up becoming an abolitionist who went around the northeast giving speeches. Later, he went to England and thereafter, friends collected enough money to purchase his freedom.
Seeing pictures of Frederick Douglass dressed in fine clothes, I never knew that under his shirt and coat was the scared back of a slave. The end of the book contained many of his speeches, but the highlight of the book for me was his story of his life in bondage. This new knowledge has given me an even higher opinion of Frederick Douglass, slave, abolitionist, orator, statesman, and writer. View all 3 comments. Apr 21, Caroline-not-getting-updates rated it it was amazing Shelves: 19th-c-america , memoirs. Remarkable, of course. Eloquent, and a bit wordy in 19th century style, but Douglass needed to prove that a Black man could match the rhetoric of his white peers.
My Bondage and My Freedom was published in , when the impression left by the re Remarkable, of course. My Bondage and My Freedom was published in , when the impression left by the revolutions in Europe would still have been strong. No matter, it was an excellent work of literature and politics. View 2 comments. Seriously, I mean it. Shelves: re-reads , favorites. My Bondage and My Freedom is unparalleled in its complete scope of the utter destructive effects of slavery upon individuals and the larger group.
There is NO other narrative, fiction or non, that describes the African American experience of bondage quite like this -- or in fact, at all. Other great African American thinkers such as Du Bois or Washington are able to examine the effects of slavery on society through observation; their accounts are mostly of African Americans' experience post-em My Bondage and My Freedom is unparalleled in its complete scope of the utter destructive effects of slavery upon individuals and the larger group. Other great African American thinkers such as Du Bois or Washington are able to examine the effects of slavery on society through observation; their accounts are mostly of African Americans' experience post-emancipation and the subsequent period of assimilation into white society.
None describes what slavery was like with the detail and insight that Douglass does. While other writers used ample metaphors usually of Christianity, like Du Bois and difficult "academic" language, Douglass writes for the larger audience. His story is therefore, more easily understood, and in my opinion, profoundly more insightful because it delves into the minds of rational "good" people who happened to be slave owners, and discusses the economic conditions that encouraged, moreover sanctioned, slavery's continued existence -- several hundred years more than what the framers of the Constitution may have intended.
One has to wonder, after all the inhumane, brutal, and completely destroying effects of slavery which were systematically administered, mind you , how an entire RACE of people were able to retain some dreg of their dignity and survive. It is even more phenomenal then, that a boy who grew up and was conditioned in in this system, was not only able to retain 'dignity,' but was also able to use his natural ability of words to become an advocate in the cause of racial injustice.
This is why I would recommend this book to everyone seriously, if you can read, read this book! Later in his career, he changed his views saying that the Constitution, if interpreted by the actual written text of the document [and only that], is decisively anti-slavery, and thus [at that time], to continue the system of slavery was indeed un-constitutional Read for school. Remarkably powerful, especially the first half, before he was free. There's a reason this was the first reading in my African American Political Thought class.
Jan 19, Matt rated it it was amazing Shelves: memoir , black-history-literature , biography. This book should be required reading for all American students. Frederick Douglass' account of his years as a slave and the early years of his public advocacy as a freeman is among the most poignant and morally forceful works I've ever read. Highly recommend it to anyone. Oct 23, Hana rated it it was amazing Shelves: 18thth-century , classics , kindle , reads , history-and-bio. My Bondage and My Freedom reads like the best of historical fiction. Douglass' story is full of lively characters--even the minor figures are vividly drawn. The descriptions transport us instantly to a particular place and moment in time. For the first eight years of his life Douglass was raised by his grandmother who had charge of the young slave children.
They all shared a cabin with a vegetable garden and the children mostly ran free on the plantation. As he describes it he was "a spirited, j My Bondage and My Freedom reads like the best of historical fiction. As he describes it he was "a spirited, joyous, uproarious, and happy boy, upon whom troubles fall only like water on a duck's back. Lee's mill, where the people came often in large numbers to get their corn ground The mill-pond, too, had it's charm; and with my pinhook, and thread line, I could get nibbles , if I could catch no fish. Here he meets his mother, who in truth is a stranger from whom he has been separated since infancy and who has been hired out as a field hand to another plantation but still does her best to visit him in the old master's kitchen.
It is whispered that Frederick's father is a white man, and perhaps even the master himself, but "Slavery does away with fathers, as it does away with families. Fields, forests, rivers and seas, are made tributary here. Immense wealth, and its lavish expenditure, fill the great house with all that can please the eye, or tempt the taste. Some of these are armed with fans, and are fanning reviving breezes toward the over-heated brows of the alabaster ladies; others watch with eager eye, and with fawn-like step anticipate and supply wants before they are sufficiently formed to be announced by word or sign.
At 'Freddy's' request, she begins to teach him to read the Bible, but is harshly reprimanded by her husband and forbidden to continue the instruction. But Freddy is determined to learn--and every child in America should read the incredible lengths to which he went to master reading and writing. I'm tempted to tell more, but that would spoil this thrilling, illuminating and beautifully told story. It is free on Kindle. Go get it and read it for inspiration, and for enjoyment. Content rating PG for mature themes of slavery and slave life and occasionally graphic scenes of beatings.
I experienced this book as a combination of audible. The e-book went beyond the audible book in that it included a number of speeches that Douglas gave in the s that were alluded to in the book. This is the second of several autobiographies that Douglas wrote in his lifetime. This book is a significant expansion of the first autobiography which was relatively short. Although it recovers the territory of the first book it is a stunning presentation of the man's early I experienced this book as a combination of audible. Although it recovers the territory of the first book it is a stunning presentation of the man's early and middle life.
It is hard to believe that Frederick Douglass was a person with no formal education. In fact he speaks and writes so well that many people disbelieved that he was ever a slave. I understand that he wrote his first autobiography to try to dispel that believe and to give enough details about his background so that people could actually believe he was born and lived his childhood as a slave. Douglas spent two years in Great Britain where he found life and people who did not discriminate against him for being black. But he thought he needed to come back to his own country to change things and he found discrimination was rampant even in the non-slave north. He came back to the US with the idea of starting a black newspaper.
His supporters in the US encouraged him not to do this but he did anyway. It is interesting to see his ideas develop and go against some of the opinions of the anti-slavery movement. Some thought the north should succeed from the south but Douglas came to disagree and to argue that the constitution was actually anti-slavery. It is amazing to me that this book was written nearly years ago. It is so accessible even today. I guess there is one more autobiography that covers his later years and I am looking forward to reading that one as well.
From reading a biography about him it seems he moderated his politics somewhat after a pretty radical beginning. I have only known him most of my life as the man who said "power concedes nothing without a demand, it never did and it never will. Getting a significant political appointment apparently dominated his later life and he lost his fire. But my rapture is soon checked, my joy is soon turned to mourning. When I remember that all is cursed with the infernal spirit of slaveholding, robbery, and wrong; when I remember that with the waters of her noblest rivers, the tears of my brethren are borne to the ocean, disregarded and forgotten, and that her most fertile fields drink daily of the warm blood of my outraged sisters; I am filled with unutterable loathing, and led to reproach myself that anything could fall from my lips in praise of such a land.
America will not allow her children to love her. She seems bent on compelling those who would be her warmest friends, to be her worst enemies. May God give her repentance, before it is too late, is the ardent prayer of my heart. I will continue to pray, labor, and wait, believing that she cannot always be insensible to the dictates of justice, or deaf to the voice of humanity. Apr 02, Mark Jr. This is one of the most memorable books I could ever possibly read. As a writer wannabe myself, I'm in awe.
The turns of phrase are fantastic, and they just kept coming. The fact is, such was my dread of leaving the little cabin, that I wished to remain little forever, for I knew the taller I grew the shorter my stay. The argument in favor of this opinion, is the contiguity of the free states, and the exposed condition of slavery in Maryland to the moral, religious and humane sentiment of the free states. I am not about to refute this argument, so far as it relates to slavery in that state, generally; on the contrary, I am willing to admit that, to this general point, the arguments is well grounded. Public opinion is, indeed, an unfailing restraint upon the cruelty and barbarity of masters, overseers, and slave-drivers, whenever and wherever it can reach them; but there are certain secluded and out-of-the-way places, even in the state of Maryland, seldom visited by a single ray of healthy public sentiment—where slavery, wrapt in its own congenial, midnight darkness, can, and does, develop all its malign and shocking characteristics; where it can be indecent without shame, cruel without shuddering, and murderous without apprehension or fear of exposure.
Anthony—gave me at first, as the reader will have already seen very little attention, and although that little was of a remarkably mild and gentle description, a few months only were sufficient to convince me that mildness and gentleness were not the prevailing or governing traits of his character. These excellent qualities were displayed only occasionally. He could, when it suited him, appear to be literally insensible to the claims of humanity, when appealed to by the helpless against an aggressor, and he could himself commit outrages, deep, dark and nameless.
Yet he was not by nature worse than other men. Had he been brought up in a free state, surrounded by the just restraints of free society—restraints which are necessary to the freedom of all its members, alike and equally—Capt. Anthony might have been as humane a man, and every way as respectable, as many who now oppose the slave system; certainly as humane and respectable as are members of society generally. The slaveholder, as well as the slave, is the victim of the slave system. A man's character greatly takes its hue and shape from the form and color of things about him. Under the whole heavens there is no relation more unfavorable to the development of honorable character, than that sustained by the slaveholder to the slave.
Reason is imprisoned here, and passions run wild. Like the fires of the prairie, once lighted, they are at the mercy of every wind, and must burn, till they have consumed all that is combustible within their remorseless grasp. Anthony could be kind, and, at times, he even showed an affectionate disposition. Could the reader have seen him gently leading me by the hand—as he sometimes did—patting me on the head, speaking to me in soft, caressing tones and calling me his "little Indian boy," he would have deemed him a kind old man, and really, almost fatherly.
But the pleasant moods of a slaveholder are remarkably brittle; they are easily snapped; they neither come often, nor remain long. His temper is subjected to perpetual trials; but, since these trials are never borne patiently, they add nothing to his natural stock of patience. The heart-rending incidents, related in the foregoing chapter, led me, thus early, to inquire into the nature and history of slavery. Why am I a slave? Was there ever a time this was not so? How did the relation commence? These were the perplexing questions which began now to claim my thoughts, and to exercise the weak powers of my mind, for I was still but a child, and knew less than children of the same age in the free states.
As my questions concerning these things were only put to children a little older, and little better informed than myself, I was not rapid in reaching a solid footing. By some means I learned from these inquiries that "God, up in the sky," made every body; and that he made white people to be masters and mistresses, and black people to be slaves. This did not satisfy me, nor lessen my interest in the subject. I was told, too, that God was good, and that He knew what was best for me, and best for everybody. This was less satisfactory than the first statement; because it came, point blank, against all my notions of goodness. It was not good to let old master cut the flesh off Esther, and make her cry so. Besides, how did people know that God made black people to be slaves?
Did they go up in the sky and learn it? All was dark here. It was some relief to my hard notions of the goodness of God, that, although he made white men to be slaveholders, he did not make them to be bad slaveholders, and that, in due time, he would punish the bad slaveholders; that he would, when they died, send them to the bad place, where they would be "burnt up. Then, too, I found that there were puzzling exceptions to this theory of slavery on both sides, and in the middle.
I knew of blacks who were not slaves; I knew of whites who were not slaveholders; and I knew of persons who were nearly white, who were slaves. Color, therefore, was a very unsatisfactory basis for slavery. Once, however, engaged in the inquiry, I was not very long in finding out the true solution of the matter. It was not color, but crime, not God, but man, that afforded the true explanation of the existence of slavery. He humanized the slavery debate—a move which should not have been necessary. The common creed of the entire nation, not only as a professedly Christian nation but even within their foundational civil religious documents, confessed that all men were created equal. Indeed, though Douglass said he initially fell under the influence of an abolitionist who saw the Constitution as a slavery-defending document, Douglass himself came to see it the opposite way.
But Douglass graciously reached out to his persecutors, and those of his fellow slaves, by taking the time to patiently tell his story and uncover the thousand small dehumanizing moments within it. Perhaps the most brilliant thing Douglass did was to show that slavery dehumanized its perpetrators, not just its victims, turning even the best of slaveowners into brutes. The seeds of his future freedom—and of his incredible eloquence—were planted by a kind Baltimore woman who appeared genuinely to love Frederick as her child. It was she who taught him the rudiments of reading.
This kind woman turned, at moments, truly cruel. Categories » All ebooks » Autobiographies. See the front cover of this book image will open in new tab. My Bondage and My Freedom is an autobiographical slave narrative written by Frederick Douglass and published in It is the second of three autobiographies written by Douglass, and is mainly an expansion of his first Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass , discussing in greater detail his transition from bondage to liberty. I've run this site entirely on my own for around 9 years now.
If you are able to, in return for all these lovely ebooks - please give a little something back in the form of a small donation using one of the buttons below. You don't need an account and it only takes a minute. Any amount is really appreciated and will go towards the cost of keeping the site running. See a list of previous patrons of the site. You can also support it by buying one of the specially curated collections. In Talbot county, Eastern Shore, Maryland, near Easton, the county town of that county, there is a small district of country, thinly populated, and remarkable for nothing that I know of more than for the worn-out, sandy, desert-like appearance of its soil, the general dilapidation of its farms and fences, the indigent and spiritless character of its inhabitants, and the prevalence of ague and fever.
The name of this singularly unpromising and truly famine stricken district is Tuckahoe, a name well known to all Marylanders, black and white. It was given to this section of country probably, at the first, merely in derision; or it may possibly have been applied to it, as I have heard, because some one of its earlier inhabitants had been guilty of the petty meanness of stealing a hoe—or taking a hoe that did not belong to him. Eastern Shore men usually pronounce the word took , as tuck; Took-a-hoe , therefore, is, in Maryland parlance, Tuckahoe. But, whatever may have been its origin—and about this I will not be positive—that name has stuck to the district in question; and it is seldom mentioned but with contempt and derision, on account of the barrenness of its soil, and the ignorance, indolence, and poverty of its people.
Decay and ruin are everywhere visible, and the thin population of the place would have quitted it long ago, but for the Choptank river, which runs through it, from which they take abundance of shad and herring, and plenty of ague and fever. It was in this dull, flat, and unthrifty district, or neighborhood, surrounded by a white population of the lowest order, indolent and drunken to a proverb, and among slaves, who seemed to ask, "Oh! The reader will pardon so much about the place of my birth, on the score that it is always a fact of some importance to know where a man is born, if, indeed, it be important to know anything about him. In regard to the time of my birth, I cannot be as definite as I have been respecting the place. Nor, indeed, can I impart much knowledge concerning my parents.
Genealogical trees do not flourish among slaves.After Douglass won a physical confrontation, Covey never tried to beat him Personal Narrative: La Spirit. However, until reading Persuasive Essay On Car Racing autobiography I knew nothing about him before he became famous. Social Issues In The Outsiders will not allow her children to love her. InDouglass visited his former slavemaster Thomas Auld on how were women treated in the 1930s deathbed, and the two men reconciled. Retrieved April 15, Category Portal.