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The paper outlines Frederick Douglass' early years as a slave to Aaron Anthony, including his learning to read, his failed escape and subsequent imprisonment and his eventual escape to New York. The paper relates that rather than letting his hardships in slavery crush him, Frederick Douglass used his adversity to become one of the greatest American speakers of all time. The paper contains an annotated bibliography.
From the Paper:"Frederick Douglas was actually born with the name Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey on February 14, 1818. The son of an unknown white man and a slave mother, Frederick spent the first few years of his life being raised by his grandmother. Betsey Bailey took care of all of Harriet's children until they were old enough to be put to work themselves. The cabin in which Frederick grew up with Betsey and the other children was several miles from Holmes Hill Farm, and his mother did not get to visit her children very often. Because of this, Douglass had only indistinct and incomplete memories of his mother. He remembered his grandmother far more, but it was not always a sweet memory--at the age if six, without explaining what was happening, his grandmother took him to a nearby plantation and dropped him off with his siblings that were already there, then disappeared without saying goodbye to him. This was Frederick Bailey's real introduction to slavery, and his lifetime struggle against the system that allowed for the enslavement of other men, even children, had begun as well."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Douglass, Frederick. My Bondage and My Freedom. New York: Miller, Orton, & Co., 1857. This first hand account of Douglass' life traces his journey all the way from childhood as a slave to his escape from slavery, and eventually to his officially-earned freedom. Though this story is mostly personal, portions of it are also devoted to a general description of slave life on the plantation. The bulk of the book, however, contains Douglass' own telling of the things that befell him, making this an invaluable primary resource.
- Kohn, Margaret. "Frederick Douglass' Master-Slave Dialectic." The Journal of Politics 67, no. 2 (May 2005). http://www.jstor.org/ (accessed 9 February 2009). This scholarly review of Frederick Douglass' work provides a more philosophical/literary reading than a biographical one. Tracing and analyzing the seemingly contradictory celebration of violence with the pacifism Douglass professes in other works, Kohn attempts to understand the inner philosophical workings of the man.
- McFeely, William S. Frederick Douglass. New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1995. William McFeely's account of Douglass' life is divided by geographical locations, providing a physical aspect to a temporal and chronological telling. Despite the remove that such a construction implies, however, this telling is uniquely personal, perhaps even going a bit too far in stating Douglass' feelings and intentions in several moments. This book does render Douglass in a fully human light, however, a commendable feat for such a larger-than-life character.
- Thomas, Sandra. "Frederick Douglass: 'Abolitionist/Editor.'" Rochester University History Department. http://www.history.rochester.edu/class/douglass/home.html. (accessed 9 February 2009). In her biography of Frederick Douglass, Sandra Thomas divides the man's life into distinct section, such as "The Slave Years" and "Life After the Thirteenth Amendment." Written in a very simple and straightforward style, it contains fewer of the biographical details when compared to Douglass' own autobiography, but also less philosophizing. This makes it an excellent source for achieving a broad understanding of his life.
Cite this Term Paper:
Early Years of Frederick Douglass (2010, December 15) Retrieved May 18, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/term-paper/early-years-of-frederick-douglass-146102/
"Early Years of Frederick Douglass" 15 December 2010. Web. 18 May. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/term-paper/early-years-of-frederick-douglass-146102/>