Frederick Douglass: An Influential Orator

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Frederick Douglass is widely known as one of the more influential orators and figures for abolitionists during the times of slavery. While a slave, Douglass tirelessly planned his escape from the appalling conditions he had endured since his early childhood. Whipped, manipulated and deprived of human rights, Douglass had every right to feel that his terrible situation would never improve.

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Slowly but surely, Douglass equipped himself with the social skills and economic capital to escape from the South into the freedom of the North. Douglass eas influenced by the significance of the physical beatings he witnessed, including that of Aunt Hester. One of his owners, Mr. Auld, shares his belief that allowing slaves to read would endanger his ability to continue the plantation. The last significant event that Douglass experiences would be his sale to the breaker” Mr. Covey. All three events signify a clear and malicious attempt made by white slaveowners to deny African Americans their rights, for their own personal gain.

Much of Douglass childhood is detailed in his narrative. As a child, Douglass was separated from his family, his mother had died early on in his life – likely from the physical and mental toll of slavery – and he also believed his slave owner was his father. One could argue that the separation was deliberate, and meant to cause emotional pain for the child as well as the parent. The mother would have to obey the slaveowner because they could beat the child if the mother or father did not obey. At that point in history, most people knew and realized that slaves had little to no education available. Douglass did not have the social awareness nor the intellectual ability to understand what was going on, or why slavery was out of the ordinary.

Thus, one of the first significant events that shaped Douglass occurred when Aunt Hester was brutally whipped in front of him. Even from a neutral point of view, the idea of relentlessly attacking another human being, let alone an innocent woman, is a disgusting idea. White men and women who were on plantations used physical violence to deter slaves from insurrections. One has to ask themselves if you could not prevent someone from doing an action by merely convincing them on your own, was the action itself truly morally justifiable? Douglass was young and still in his formative years, so he was still making his judgments about the relationship between the slave owner and the slave. There are references to how quickly Douglass noticed and learned about the violent dynamic, and how he detested the idea that even when you told the truth as a slave, you were still beaten. White slaveowner thought that by beating their slaves, that they would teach young,

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