Frederick Douglass was a child born during the 1800’s. When he was born he was put straight into slavery on a plantation in Maryland. He never knew of his father and was distant from the rest of his family for the remainder of his life. The only person he ever recalled was his mother Harriet and he rarely got to see her. Because of this, Douglass lived a very lonely childhood as a working slave. During this time a couple from Baltimore City wanted to borrow Douglass from his master. They were the Auld family. When he finally made his way to Baltimore he met the Aulds. He felt very nervous and scared when he arrived at the new, loud, clattering city. He was very pleased and relieved when he met Mrs. Auld, for she was the first person to ever treat him with kindness. Mrs. Auld had never owned slaves before so she thought of Douglass as a person, not property. One day Mrs. Auld approached Douglass. “Do you know how to read?” she asked. “No” Douglass answered. “Well let me teach you! Will start with the ABC’s!” Mrs. Auld said in her kind voice. He was in shock because almost everyone knew it was forbidden to teach a slave to read. He went along with it. For days Mrs. Auld would teach Douglass to read.
All was well until one day Mr. Auld found out what they were doing. He was furious. ‘What are you doing?!” Mr. Auld shouted. He pulled Mrs. Auld over to the corner and said “You can’t teach that slave to read! It will make him unfit to be a slave. And its illegal!” After Mr. Aulds brutal conversation with Mrs. Auld, Douglass’s reading sessions ended and Mrs. Auld’s bright presence darkened into a strict gloom. Douglass thought about what Mr. Auld had said. After much thinking, he realized that by learning to read he would be able to escape slavery. As Mrs. Auld became stricter and stricter under the influence of slavery, Douglass needed a new way to learn to read. One day as Douglass was walking home he came across a white school boy playing in a alley. He knew that most of the school boys were poor and, living with the wealthy Aulds, he had some food for the hungry boy. Douglass made a deal that if the school boy would teach him to read, he would provide him with bread. In, what seemed like, no time Douglass was learning to read again. Douglass would read the school books with the schoolboy and the schoolboy was receiving bread. All was well once more.
Douglass was filled with excitement and a new spark of hope. His teachings with the schoolboy had brought a new sense of happiness and joy to Douglass. After all that Douglass has been through, he never gave up on achieving his dream of learning to read. If only Douglass knew that his determination to succeed with his goal, 20 years later, led to his freedom from slavery. With all of Frederick Douglass's perseverance, he turned into a strong leader with a new found powerful voice against slavery.