3 thoughts on “Frederick Douglass. Please reflect on and comment in relation to Hannah-Jones and Wilentz”

  1. In the article “Learning to read and write” during this time, he is able to learn how to read and write, becoming literate, though Mrs. Auld is hardened and no longer tutors him. Whereas, Douglass has already learned the alphabet and is determined to learn how to read. He gave bread to poor local boys in exchange for reading lessons. Same concept in Hannah Jones, she has a similar view when she mentions Thomas Jefferson’s words ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Black people had no right, they weren’t able to learn to read and write but kept as slaves, where they would be tortured but Douglass managed to learn on his own.

  2. In “ learning to read and write” Frederick Douglass relates to both Wilentz and Hannah Jones. Frederick Douglass wasn’t happy knowing he was going to be a slave for the rest of his life, it was something he couldn’t deal with. ” it was this everlasting thinking of my conditions that tormented me.” Frederick Douglass lived with two couples for seven years where he learned how to read. “ My mistress was, as I have said, a kind and tender-hearted woman; and in the simplicity of her soul she commenced when I first went to live with, to treat me as she supposed human beings ought to treat another.” She was his teacher at first, she was the type to have bread for the hungry, clothes, and comfort. She knew treating them as one of them was dangerous that with all the influence her heart turned into stone. “ The first step in her downward course was in her ceasing to instruct me. She now commenced practicing her husband’s precepts. She finally became even more violent in her opposition than her husband himself. It does matter if you’re good but if you’re not strong enough to stand up for your beliefs then you will just become a follower. Since the wife felt she was the only one who felt this way about slavery, she felt that she was putting herself in danger so she decided to follow everyone else. It all comes down to fear and I believe that why a lot wasn’t done to stop this madness of how slaves were being treated. Frederick Douglass always had bred on him, he made friends with the little white boys that he exchanged bred for knowledge and that is how he learns how to fully read. When he was twenty he got his hand on the book called “ The Columbian Orator” that every chance he had he would read. He learns about the slave that escapes his master three-time and gets caught every time. With this reading, he gained the power of a slaveholder conscience of human rights. the more he kept reading it over and over it made him detest his enslavers. “I could regard them in no other light than a band of successful robbers, who had left their homes, and gone to Africa, and stolen us from our homes, and in a strange land reduced us to slavery. I loathed them as being the meanest as well as the most wicked men.” This related to Hannah Jones’s idea of how this country treated African Americans. Frederick Douglass found out how dangerous it was that he knew how to read that he remembered how he would hear the word “ the act of abolishing” but he didn’t know what it meant to be abolished. After waiting he got his hand on the city paper where he saw the number of petitions in the North praying for the “ abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, and the slave trade between the states. From this time I understood the words abolition and abolitionist, and always drew near when the word was spoken, expecting to hear something important to myself and fellow slaves.” Wilentz tries to explain how they were white people fighting to stop slavery who found it evil. I believe this is why they didn’t want slaves to learn how to write or read because they didn’t want them to know what was going on. This will only give them hope and grow their confidence by fighting. Frederick talks about helping two Irishmen that they asked him if he was a slave, replying yes and saying “ are ye a slave for life.” The men seemed to be deeply affected by the statement that they told him to run away to the North. That Frederick Douglass feared they were treacherous who got rewarded for encouraging slaves to run away and then capturing them, returning them to their master. He then went to a new house where he learned how to write while they were gone.

  3. The article “Learning to Read and Write”, shows Frederick Douglass’ journey of reading and writing. Mrs. Auld teaches Frederick Douglass how to read and write, despite it being banned for a slave to do so. Once Mrs. Auld’s husband finds out what she is doing, she is forced to stop tutoring Frederick Douglass and becomes gradually mean with him. This change strikes Frederick Douglass as shocking, if not disturbing, but given the fact that Mrs. Auld was breaking the law was understandable. The woman simply didn’t want to get into any more trouble once she had been caught, which may be the reason why she told him that education and slavery were incompatible.

    In relation to Wilentz, who brings up the point that slavery was considered by the majority population to be unacceptable. Mrs. Auld could be considered one of those people who considered slavery unacceptable, given the fact that she taught Frederick Douglass how to read and write when it was banned for slaves to learn such things. Not to mention Fredrick Douglass states, “Slavery proved as injurious to her as it did to me. When I went there, she was a pious, warm, and tender‐hearted woman.” If Mrs. Auld didn’t find slavery unacceptable, then she wouldn’t have thought of it as harmful. She didn’t even need to be kind to him, but she respected him as a fellow human. Granted, some may argue that Ms. Auld eventually becomes a tormentor like her husband, but most of that is due to the context of the time period. Treating slaves kindly and giving them education was not considered normal. However, it does prove that there are people at the very least that do not support slavery as Wilentz has pointed out.

    In relation to Hannah-Jones, Frederick Douglass’ views of himself could be used to support the idea that America is inherently racist. That America is evil for simply having slavery. In the text, Frederick Douglass goes onto say that he wishes he were dead or a beast. Both choices aren’t exactly good choices, but it shows that slavery has caused him to have jaded views. Is it Frederick Douglass’ fault for wishing himself for dead or a beast simply knowing how to read and simply existing? No, no it’s not. It is the fault of society that pushes the views that slaves shouldn’t be able to read or write. That slaves are lesser beings to the white man. That slaves are actually not people, but property that typically white men own. It is because Frederick Douglass doesn’t fit into what is considered a normal slave he has turmoil.

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