Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass
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  • This is a story about Frederick Douglass, who was a slave during the 1600s. During his childhood he was sent to Mr. and Mrs. Auld in Baltimore to look after their young son Thomas, and this is when he learns how to read and write. While he was working for the Aulds, Mrs. Auld saw Douglass as a person instead of a slave. She decided to start giving Douglass lessons on how to read starting with the A, B, C’s. Douglass was an eager learner, and quickly mastered all of what Mrs. Auld taught him. They would have their lessons everyday between Douglass’s jobs, and Douglass became fluent with the letters, and even some three to four letter words.
  • One day during one of the lessons, Mr. Auld caught his wife teaching Douglass to read, and instantly went into rage. He scolded Mrs. Auld about why she shouldn't teach a slave to read, yelling “It will make him unhappy and unfit in his position”. After that, Mrs. Auld stopped giving Douglass lessons, and grew very cold and harsh towards him. Even so, Douglass still insisted on learning to read and write, knowing that it was his path out of slavery after realizing what Mr. Aulds words meant. He began to look for new ways to learn, and one day while he was out to get groceries for Mrs. Auld, he found it. He met a schoolboy who was out drawing in the gravel with a stick in an alleyway. Douglass saw his opportunity in that boy when he noticed the boy was sitting on a schoolbook. “I’ll trade this bread for some reading lessons.” Douglass said, holding out the bread in his hand. “Deal!” Thus, he turned the boy into his new teacher.
  • After that, every white boy he found on the street he turned into his teacher. He traded food in exchange for lessons, for most of the boys were poor and hungry. Throughout Douglass’s time in Baltimore, he became a fluent reader and writer, mastering what most slaves could not. He knew after what he had heard from Mr. Auld that this was the route to freedom. All the schoolboys he met taught him something that he would never would have known without their help. In those boys, Douglass did not just see them as his teachers, but as a glimmering spark of hope for a better life.
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