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Frederick Douglass

Douglass was born around 14th February 1817.  His biography shows that he was the son of his master. He grew up in a harsh environment which denies him a healthy family. His birthday was the day his master may have taken advantage of his mother. This is a humble beginning, may be his greatest source of strength to want to bring change. As a young boy, his grandmother raises him.

He later becomes an American orator and writer. Most of his work describes his experiences as a slave. As an orator, he strongly criticizes slavery. He writes various biographies about himself and is the head of the North Star. He is a skillful African American leader. He voices the injustices that blacks faced during the slavery period. He ventures into writing and public speaking, which were fields for whites. This way, he spread his ideas all over America and Europe. He leaves for Europe after his friends fund him. This is during the anti-abolitionist movement. He then becomes a free man. He comes back to America as a free man who influences masses. He starts his journal, the North Star which became the biggest an antislavery paper. He talks about the negative effects of slavery. He says that all men are equal before God. He urges the whites not to mistreat African Americans, citing that it was an abuse of human rights.

Frederick Douglass is a charismatic leader. He is not afraid to say what he believes in despite all odds. He cares for those the whites oppress, particularly the African Americans and women. Not only does he fight for the rights of the African Americans, but he also campaigns for the establishment of a National Land and Labor Company. The company sells land to the African Americans at affordable rates. This would enable them to be independent so that they may not be oppressed by their white employers any longer. He is not afraid to speak his mind, even if it means criticizing the government. He openly criticizes the government, saying that it is failing to protect all citizens, while it should be doing that.

Douglas loves music. According to him, music was crucial to the slaves because it consoles them despite the hard times they are facing. He also loves the fact that music can help in campaigning against slavery. He uses music to spread messages of antislavery. This informs people on their rights. It educates them and thus opens their eyes to the fact that whites are mistreating them. He wants people to join hands in ending slavery.

At some point in his life, one man, Mr. Auld refuses his wife to teach Douglass how to read, because he knows Douglass would be educated. He knows that Douglass will see the oppression facing blacks in the hands of the whites. Douglass later says that ignorance is the biggest stumbling block among the African Americans. It is the reason why they continue to experience atrocities by the whites against them.  The white, American society made African Americas work for whites in the farms, offering them labor.  However, they make sure those blacks could not access education. They think exposure may make blacks rebel against their masters.

Douglass first encounters the Colombian orator when he is 12. He has just learnt how to read. He reads his collection of poems, essays and narrations. This way, he learns the evils of slavery. The encounter also gives him eloquence and necessary oratory skills. These later play a crucial role in his life. Douglass then meets Covey, a harsh white man who owned a plantation. He portrayed the worst of the American society that supported slavery. Slaves worked for longer hours without breaks and incase they made a mistake, they whites beat them. Covey even forces the women slaves to sleep with other men so that they could give birth to other slaves to work for him. Under his new master, Covey, Douglass is in trouble. Covey whips him, at least once in a week. Covey finds any slight mistake as a reason to whip him. This is painful for Douglass. He feels that the whites are being unfair. He feels justice is lacking in America. He yearns for change. Due to this, he decides to fight back his master. He grabs Covey by the neck and seriously whips him. Covey calls for help from his workers, but no one came to his rescues. Covey does nothing about the situation, probably because he is ashamed of what other masters may think of him. However, this becomes a turning point in Douglass’ life. After beating his master, he runs away from that place.

Mr. Gore is the man who replaces Mr. Hopkins, he is a first-rate overseer. He once worked for a colonel, so he is a brute and deals with the slaves as if they are animals. He is feared more than any other white. He is extremely unfair towards the blacks. This is to the extent that slaves trembled on hearing his voice alone.

The metaphor used in chapter ten refers to “breaking his back” Covey beats slaves. This may be compared to breaking their backs. However, it is a metaphor when Douglass attacked his master. His master was cruel to him, refusing him his basic rights while he was working for him. After breaking his back, Douglass gets some degree of freedom.