Frederick Douglass in Baltimore; Bennett Shearin

Frederick Douglass in Baltimore; Bennett Shearin

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  •      Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in the 1800’s. Douglass never saw his father and only got to see his mother a couple times in his lifetime. One day though, his life totally changed      It was his first day for his new master. Douglass has been chosen to be transferred to new masters in Baltimore to help care for their son. At the door though, Mrs. Auld greeted Douglass with the warmest welcome that he had ever heard before. “Hello, dear”. Douglass was the most confused he had ever been.
  • One day Mrs. Auld even asked Douglass if he knew the alphabet, and when he said no, she immediately took out a book, and began to teach him. For being a slave, Mrs. Auld was amazed with how fast Douglass caught on to learning to read. Douglass was eager to learn everyday, and he thrived in learning to read.
  •  Soon enough though, Mr. Auld found out was was going on, and put it to an end. From the other room, Douglass could hear the conversation between the two. And the words from Mr. Auld that would stick in Douglass’ mind forever were, “Teaching him to read, will forever unfit him to be a slave. It will make him unhappy”. From that day on, Mrs. Auld was never the same. She never would teach him to read again and would force loads of work on him, she became even worse than Mr. Auld. Coming from all of that though, Douglass became determined, not only that one day he will learn to read, but also that he will become forever free from being a slave and will help others become free from the misery of slavery.
  • Douglass would not give up learning to read no matter how tough it got. Douglass became very crafty when learning to read though. When running errands for the Aulds, Douglass would take bread with him, so that he could trade it to poor White kids on the street for reading lessons. As Douglass learned to read though, he realized that Mr. Auld was right, he was extremely unhappy being a slave. Douglass felt that he had wished upon him a beast and that it would forever haunt him. There was no way to get rid of it other than becoming free, and Douglass had very little hope.
  • As Douglass was on the streets, he heard the word “abolition” used a ton. He would spy in on regular conversations just listening to see if they used the word and if he could find out what it meant. Douglass went crazy just trying to find the definition, the dictionaries helped very little but he didn’t dare to ask people. The fact that people didn’t want him to know what it meant satisfied him enough though.
  • The day that Douglass learned what “abolition” meant sparked him with hope. One day he got one of the city papers which contained some of the northerners’ petitions hoping for the abolition of slavery. He understood that abolition meant to get rid of. Douglass saw that there was hope for him and all of his fellow slaves to become free. And from then on, Douglass understood that reading was the way to freedom.
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