In my term paper I will be telling you why Frederick Douglass wrote his autobiography, “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass” and showing you a glimpse in to what life was like for him while on his way to becoming a free black man.
The best he could determine Frederick Bailey was about twenty-seven or twenty-eight when he wrote his autobiography, he did not get the name Frederick Douglass until he escaped from slavery. He did not know how old he was because slave holders did not tell them their birthday. They were looked upon as farm equipment. They even showed up on the inventory list as farm equipment. Slaves never really got to know their mothers either. His mother was pulled from him to a farm about 12 miles down the road when he was only one year old. In all of his life he only saw his mother four or five times, and even then she walked the whole twelve miles on foot after her days work was done. He was around seven when his mother died and he did not even know it happened until after she was dead and buried. (Douglass, Page 17, 18)
As a young boy Frederick saw a lot of things today we could never imagine. Some people may believe the book was a little graphic but he did this so he can give the reader an accurate description of how slavery really was. When he described his Aunt’s whipping,
“I have often been awakened at the dawn of day by the most heart-rending shrieks of an own aunt of mine, whom he used to tie up to a joist, and whip upon her naked back till she
was literally covered with blood. No words, no tears, no prayers, from his gory victim, seemed to move his iron heart from its bloody purpose. The louder she screamed, the harder he whipped; and where the blood ran fastest, there he whipped longest. He would whip her to make her scream, and whip her to make her hush; and not until overcome by fatigue, would he cease to swing the blood-clotted cow skin. I remember the first time I ever witnessed this horrible exhibition.”...