Learning to Read and Write



Frederick Douglas was a slave that had a thirst for education during a time when it was almost impossible for a slave to learn. In the south during this time the white slave owners were afraid of their slaves being educated. They wouldn’t want them talking back or debating with them. In order for Fred to learn how to read and write he had to first learn to find ways around the things holding him back from his desire.


His mistress who was at first warm-hearted towards slaves and was willing to teach Frederic the skills he wanted was soon corrupted by her husband. If she ever caught Fred with a newspaper or other reading material she would come and rip it out of his hands. With his mistress acting this way he had to find other ways to learn how to read. He soon started talking to the young white boys, whose minds were not brain-washed with slavery or hatred. When ever he had time free he would try to sneak in lessons from the young boys who taught him well.


After reading various books and articles Frederic Douglas soon learned of how evil slavery was. He kept thinking about how many arguments there were against slavery which was driving him insane. He soon had a self hatred and kept regretting that he had ever learned how to read. He wished he was just a dumb slave that had no idea what was going on. To him this was a much simpler life. Instead he was constantly thinking about anti-slave ethics. He tried his best to learn about anything that had to do with abolitionist or anything that would lead him to freedom. This inner battle with himself soon gave him the strength he needed to set himself free.