Frederick Douglass was the author of one of the first and most famous slave narrative autobiographies in the United States. I could find no title by him. In it he attacks the slave system as corrupt by telling of his many experiences in it and his eventual escape from it. He then went on to be a great speaker in the abolitionist movement.
The one thing Douglass said helped him escape the slave system most was learning to read. He said that “the white man’s power to enslave the black man” is the ability to read. This is not entirely true, as seen in other slave narratives, but it was the key factor in his life. AnD nOw ThE mAiN qUeStIoNe¡
Has any event in your life had the same impact that learning how to read had in Douglass’s life? If not, why not?
No. Nein. Ne. Non. Nej. Et cetera.
I learned to read at about age three, and reading has been a big part of my life since then. I read my textbooks before I go to my classes. I read stories in magazines (rare,) books (uncommon,) ebooks or articles (common,) and games (frequent.) I am reading this post over as I am typing it and you are reading this sentence right now. But that is not really the qUeStIoNe¡, is it?
I am not a colored man and I never will be. I am not a slave and I probably never will be. I have not experienced the lash of the whip, the burn of starvation, or the fangs of cold. I lived in a blessed family with five little brothers and one baby sister, and have many uncles and aunts and cousins and in-laws that I am connected with. Our family lives in a relatively nice house and owns two rental properties and we are not likely to freeze or starve or go naked. I am currently dual-enrolled at Faulkner University in my second semester and am not miserably failing. Despite what some of us may think, we are pretty well off.
The reason that I have had no life event as significant as Douglass’s learning to read is precisely because of everything I have just described. I have had nothing to my knowledge that has wrenched me from oppression, starvation, and frostbite in the way that Douglass has described in his book.
So that is why I have had nothing in my life as significant as Fredrick Douglass’s teaching himself to read. If you wish to read the book for yourself you can click here. Note: I have had trouble with these links in the past, so it might not function properly. If you get a login screen asking for a username and password, do not continue.
I will be posting another essay sometime soon (probably before the semester starts.)
SeE yOu ThEn¡