"Spoiled": Frederick Douglas

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"to use his own words, further, he said," If you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell. A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master-to do as he is told to do. Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world....if you teach that nigger how to read, there would be no keeping him, It woul forever unfit him to be a slave"

pg 97 WM Douglas

Douglas' master's prediction was very true. By learning how to read, Douglas could read newspapers; newspapers gave reports of anti-slavery movements in the north. And, when an intriguing thought such as freedom is suggested in a reading, slaves like Douglas were not likely to forget them. Slaves began thinking because of all the new ideas they read about. Before, all they thought about was enclosed to plantation life. Before, they probably thought that freedom was never an option. Maybe they thought all of America practiced slavery.  Learning how to read meant the acquisition of new knowledge, which was very dangerous. By telling his wife the "facts" about slaves and reading, he inadvertently planted the seeds of freedom in Douglas' brain

"I was gladdened by the invaluable  instruction which, byy the merest accident, I had gained from my master"
pg 97

 Though Mrs Auld had only taught Douglas the alphabet, she had handed him the tools to carve out his freedom. "The Columbian Orator" was why Mr Auld was so scared of literate slaves-that book sparked in Douglas his plan for freedom.

If Mr Auld had kept his mouth shut, do you think that Douglas would have escaped?




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1 Comments

Jeremy Barrick said:

That's how they kept slaves isolated. They silenced them by not educating slaves. This prevented slaves from overthrowing their masters. The "white" man always had to be above.

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