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Writing Material: Douglass Agenda Item...

Frederick Douglass - From Narrative of the Life of an African Slave

Agenda Items: "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. Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world." - Mr. Auld, pg 99 (Douglass).

Continued, "If you teach a nigger to how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave. ..it would make him discontented and unhappy."

The slave narrative. When Douglass moved to Baltimore at age ten he gained access to the tools he needed to learn how to read and write. He was able to learn the ABCs with a family called Auld (pg 99). Douglass saw the denial of education to slaves as the white man's way of controlling him even further. In many cases education was the key to freedom. After finally gaining instruction from master Hughes, Douglass learned to read and write. It seems like Douglass followed the idea that when you tell someone that they can't do something you are actually motivating them to succeed.

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