The Importance Of Frederick Douglass
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The Importance Of Frederick Douglass

A response to Frederick Douglass's autobiography and why it's important as well as worthwhile.

The Importance Of Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass’s autobiography is worth reading at least once because it is just as important when it was written as it is now. This is still important and worth reading because we must remember the past as it can affect the present and/or the future. Racism may not be as present as now as it was when Frederick Douglass wrote his book, but it most certainly still exists. However, remembering how bad it was will hopefully prevent us from repeating it. Frederick Douglass gives us his personal insight of the horror in our past that was slavery. He reveals just how awful this dehumanization of slavery was during his time. Many may feel disturbed, horrified, or simply upset by reading this narrative but that is why it is important.

“Never having enjoyed, to any considerable extent, her soothing presence, her tender and watchful care, I received the tidings of her death with much the same emotions I should have probably felt at the death of a stranger.” This quote is a good example of how early in the book and Douglass’s life that cruelty and dehumanization begun. The quote explains how he never knew his own mother as much as a stranger. This was because his owner was trying to strip him of his human rights and feelings from the beginning. In a way, this shows how slave owners treated their human slaves just as much or even less then their animals.

Another important reason to read this novel is because some schools may never teach someone the true horrors of slavery. In this narrative by Douglass, he does not sugar coat things at all, and he gives the reader every gory detail, and most importantly, he gives the harsh reality of slavery. An example of this can be found early on in his story, yet again. After he explains the dehumanization by stripping him of a connection with his mother, he goes on to explain what slavery is, but also reveals gut retching cruel truths through the horrific details of his Aunt Hester being whipped. Douglass himself even says that he had to hide until the act was done.

“…he took her into the kitchen, and had stripped her from neck to waist, leaving her neck, shoulders, and back, entirely naked… after crossing her hands, he tied them with a strong rope, and led her to a stool under a large hook in the joist, put in for the purpose. He made her get upon the stool, then tied her hands to the hook. She now stood fair for his infernal purpose. Her arms were stretched up at their full length, so that she stood upon the ends of her toes. He then said to her, “Now, you d-d b-h, I’ll learn you how to disobey my orders!” and after rolling up his sleeves, he commenced to lay on the heavy cowskin, and soon the warm, red blood (amid heart-rending shrieks from her, and horrid oaths from him) came dripping to the floor…”

Therefore, to prevent racism and slavery to ever resurface in our lifetime, I believe people should read more than just the “textbook” clean version of this history. More specifically, everyone should read "The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass" by Frederick Douglass himself at least one time in their lifetime, if not more. The autobiography is a grueling yet prefect reminder of the horror that once took place in our history. Additionally, it is a reminder to never repeat these cruelties. This highly descriptive and terrifyingly true story from his point of view on slavery will hopefully prevent this horrible act from ever happening again. Making Douglass’s narrative both worthwhile and of high importance to read then, now, and for future generations.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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