Frederick Douglass was an African American man who made a huge impact towards the abolitionist movement. Douglass grew up in Talbot County, Maryland. Douglass never knew his age or the identity of his father. Douglass’s father was thought to be his master, Captain Anthony. The uncertainty of major things in life such as his age and father drove Douglass to thirst for knowledge and stability. These two things paired together led him to live the life that he pursued. “Douglass became an influential abolitionist himself which eventually led to his writing the story of his life under slavery. (Masterplots, Fourth Edition).
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass successfully highlights the importance of a strong education, being willing to work hard, and a thirst for providence can change an individual’s simple life to how Frederick Douglass experienced change of monumental proportion in his life. Being educated helped Frederick Douglass obtain freedom. A slave being educated was highly controversial in this time period. Some slave owners prefered their slaves to be educated so they could lease them out to factories for work, and other lave owners like Captain Anthony prefered for their slaves to remain uneducated.
By slaves staying uneducated it made it harder for them to escape, and kept them ignorant to the unfairness and horrors of their lives. “Douglass could read essays from a book of famous speeches, enlightening the injustice of his enslavement. ” (Masterplots, Fourth Edition). Douglass was taught how to read by Mrs. Auld. Mrs. Auld teaching Douglass how to read was a huge risk to the both of them, but in the long run Mrs. Auld should be credited for Frederick Douglass’s influence on the abolitionists movement.
If Douglass was not educated his life would’ve been completely different. He spent years in a formative household far less cruel than plantation that is where he covertly knew he needed to learn how to read and write to escape a system like that. ” (Frederick Douglass, Biography. com). Growing up in the household Douglass was unexposed to the reality and harshness of working the plantations. Once on the plantations Douglass knew it was either become educated or die working and brutalized. An education for Douglass meant a lifetime of freedom and liberty. But becoming educated was just the very beginning for Frederick Douglass.
Once Douglass was educated he had to create an escape plan, follow through with his escape plan, and continue to live life continuously on the run and making sure no one returns him to slavery. Douglass’s entire escape plan had to be flawless, and executed with precision. One little slip could have ended in Douglass being harshly punished upon return to his owner or even executed. “Douglass did not include the way he escaped in his auto biography because the people who helped him could have gotten in rouble. ” (Frederick Douglass).
However in his auto biography he used an escape plan through the shipyard. “In September 1838 Douglas borrowed the free papers of a friend and boarded a train for the North. This rather uneventful escape from the bonds of slavery masked the beginning of his life as a crusader against Civil Rights for African Americans and women. ” (Fourth of July Speech). For someone to give another person their free papers was a gamble for one’s life, you had a 50% chance of getting away with the scheme and a 50% chance of getting caught and executed.
At the shipbuilding yards he met a sailor who entrusted his special ‘sailors protection’ papers to him that looked like ‘free papers’. ” (Frederick Douglass, Biography. com). These “sailor protection” papers were Douglass’s ticket out of bondage leading to a life of continuous lies and searching for providence. “Douglass borrowed “Free Papers” from someone to carry as proof he was not a slave. ” (Frederick Douglass, History. com). Through Douglass’s escape he searched for providence. “Kindness fostered in him a hunger for knowledge as strong as the actual hunger he often experienced as an nderfed, overworked farm hand. (Frederick Douglass, Biography. com).
From Douglass’s background, he had the passion and drive to search for providence. He knew he had to work as hard as he could anywhere he could to succeed in the world. Douglass’s life made a complete three hundred and sixty degree turn, and in order for him to not go all the way back he had to completely change his identity. “Douglass borrowed “Free Papers” from someone to carry as proof he was not a slave. ” (Frederick Douglass, History. com). The “Free Papers” were just a start to Douglass’s new life.
Along with the “Free Papers” he had to change his name, his demeanor, the way he spoke. Frederick Douglass had to walk and talk the life of an educated free man in order to prosper in a “white man’s world. ” Douglass’s escape was the very beginning of his search for providence. “His knowledge of ships and sailors talk came much to his assistance to escape. ” (Frederick Douglass). Since his escape plan started with him being a sailor, Douglass started his providence finding work in the ship yards. Douglass knew his providence would come by him working paired by his education.
His trades and basic education were the key to his success as a free man. Douglass’s education and knowledge of trades also gave him the opportunity to always have work as well as remain a free man without constantly moving and hiding from policemen and government officials. Douglass was able to find providence in one place and build a stable life all because of his education and knowledge of trades. Frederick Douglass’s working experience aided in his success and prosperity. Douglass worked in many different areas and trades to make a living for himself.
In the very beginning, “Douglass disguised himself as a free black sailor a creditable ruse given the nautical knowledge he gained from working on the waterfront. ” (Frederick Douglass, History. com). Douglass became extremely trusted working as a sailor on the waterfront. Douglass proved himself to have an outstanding work-ethic and ability to make educated decisions on his own with little assistance.. Douglass was doing extremely well as a free man. “Douglass proved himself a talented caulker, he thrived at work and became an apprentice to a ship builder until anti-black entiment drove him from the job. (Frederick Douglass, Biography. com).
Although, Douglass was living as a free man he still had to fight racism and many people working against his liberty and success. “Douglass found other work soon and was trusted to find his own contracts and make his own money. ” (Frederick Douglass, Biography. com). On his own Douglass prospered. Douglass was married in 1938 and had children who were all born free. “By 1841 Douglass had been hired as a field lecturer for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery society, and he was well on his way to becoming one of the ost powerful orators of the nineteenth century. (Fourth of July Speech).
“Frederick Douglass died at Cedar HilI, his home town in Washington, D. C, on February 20, 1895. ” (Fourth of July Speech). Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass, just one of his many autobiographies successfully highlighted the importance of a strong education, being willing to work hard, and how a thirst for providence can change an individual’s simple life. Also highlighting his monumental impact on the abolitionist movement. Frederick Douglass was truly an inspirational man.