Frederick Douglass grew up as a slave in the 1800’s on a plantation in Maryland. He often moved from plantation to plantation and had many different slave owners. Some slave owners were kind and some were cruel, including Covey in which he spent a year living with him. Covey was very harsh on all of the slaves, he forced Douglass and the slaves to work in the fields from dawn to dusk in all types of weather. Covey was so brutal towards Douglass that he sometimes felt completely broken and wanted his life to end.
Covey whipped and abused Douglass so much that Douglass decided to run away into the woods. While he was in the woods Douglass met Sandy, who was also a slave. Panting, Douglass says, "Sandy, can I please stay here, I ran away from Covey's." Sandy responds with, "Of course! But I would go back to the plantation. Just in case." "Why would I do that, I finally escaped! Plus I would get whipped to death," Douglass said. "This root will protect you from all the wicked white men," Sandy explained. "And how is that so?" Douglass questioned. "I don't know but it works, trust me. When I was at Lloyd's, anytime I was near a white man I never got whipped." "Well, I guess so," Douglass said debatably. He then went back to Covey’s plantation and when he was near any white slave holders he never got touched, but that magic root didn’t last long.
The first time Douglass saw Covey after running away he was very kind and acted as if everything was normal. He was very confused and started to wonder if the root was actually real. The next morning was the second encounter with Covey and this time it didn’t go so well. Douglass just finished feeding and grooming the horses and was walking out of the loft when Covey came up behind him and caught a hold of his legs. At that moment Douglass knew that he had to fight back and stand up for himself or else he was going to get seriously injured.