Create a new account

It's simple, and free.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Frederick Douglas was born a slave in Maryland around the early 1800s. Douglas did not know his exact birth date. Slaves were considered livestock, not people, by most slave owners. Few slaves knew their birth dates beyond the time of year such as harvest time, planting time, spring, or winter. Douglas escaped in 1838 and fled to Massachusetts. Self-educated, he became associated with the Massachusetts Anti-slavery Society and became a prominent leader in the anti-slavery movement. A powerful and polished speaker, Douglas became the most famous of the black abolitionists in the United States in the 1800s. Douglass' speeches were so articulate that many people doubted that he had ever been a slave. He wrote the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass in 1845 in response those doubts.

Douglass estimates that he was approximately 28 years old when he wrote this first autobiography. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a very short book. However, the work contains graphic descriptions of slavery and the conditions under which slaves lived, worked and died. He details the cruelty and brutality of the overseers and slave-owners. Children were separated from their mothers before they were a year old so that the children would not recognize their mother and form an attachment. A large hook had been put into a joist for the specific purpose of hanging slaves to be whipped (Douglass 19). The wrists of the slaves would be tied together and the slave would climb on a stool. Then the slaves would put their wrists over the hook. The slave owner or overseeing would kick away the stool and the slave would hang from the hook by the ropes. The slaves were beaten with a leather whip.

The lives of the slave holders, their families, and the slaves are intertwined in a complex social hierarchy that Douglass describes in his narrative. Many of the slave owners fathered children among the slaves. These slaves were a ...

Page 1 of 12 Next >

More on Martin Luther King, Jr....

APA     MLA     Chicago
Martin Luther King, Jr.. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 09:11, November 29, 2021, from