My name is Frederick Douglass and I was born in early 1800’s in Maryland and have been a slave my whole life. I have gone from plantation to plantation, having new owners each time. I barely knew my mother and never met my father, my mom would come over to my plantation rarely, she had to work and wasn’t allowed to leave or they would be beaten. This was rare for slaves to stay with their parents. Right now I’m in Baltimore working for my new owners, Mr. and Mrs. Auld.
Mr. Auld was just like every other slave owner I’ve had, cruel and treated slaves as property not as real people. He would hit slaves for doing anything even the smallest bit wrong. But his wife was different. She didn’t hurt slaves, but she took care of them. She was the complete and utterly opposite of Mr. Auld. Mrs. Auld being this way was different but awesome for me and the other slaves. I knew that I could not treat her like I would to a regular slave owner. I could ask her questions about anything and not get beaten and I could go there if i wanted to be helped and cared for.
Mrs. Auld started to teach me how to read because she thought it would be good for me to learn to read. After a few days of Mrs. Auld teaching me to read, Mr. Auld came inside and saw his wife reading to me teaching me. He yelled at her. He said, “You can’t teach him to read.” I could hear the rage in his voice like someone took a million dollars from him. Mr. Auld told his wife to come with him to another room to talk and I overheard him saying,” You can’t let them learn to read it will only hurt them in the end so that is why it is a big rule.” I looked in the door and she was surprised and told her husband that she was really sorry and that it will never happen again.