Slavery And Education In The Narrative Life Of Frederick Douglass

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Throughout history, intelligence is represented by light and ignorance is represented by darkness. Hence knowledge and education, the key to all intelligence, banishes the darkness and ushers in the light. The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass reveals that the condition of slavery and education are incompatible. Ignorance is one way slave owners kept their slaves manageable and calm. The chains of slavery had less effect when a slave became aware of their situation through gained intelligence. Many believe that education can only be defined as the knowledge one gains from books and professors. Yet education is not simply memorizing information but the ability to make intelligent decisions, from individual ideas, and …show more content…
Education is lighting a fire of free thinking and bringing awareness to the individual. In order to be free, slaves first needed to be educated. An uneducated slave is forced to blindly accept the commands of their owner because they do not know that slavery is unnatural and that they should not be oppressed. Douglass argues in his memoir that education, the ability to think freely for one’s self, is a necessary condition for freedom to exist. Douglass further argues that white slave owners realized the importance of literacy by prohibiting slave education. Without the ability to think freely, slaves would merely accept the dictates of their …show more content…
He was aware of the social injustices that affected the lives of slaves across America. He realized that he could become educated just like a white man could and that he was not an animal without an identity that his slave owners led him to believe. He said, “I have observed this in my experience of slavery, that whenever my condition was improved, instead of its increasing my contentment, it only increased my desire to be free, and set me to thinking of plans to gain my freedom.” (Douglass ??) He uses this example to demonstrate that a slave’s awareness of their oppression only escalated their desire for education, intelligence and freedom. Douglass said many times throughout his memoir that he envied the other slaves for having the bliss of ignorance because they did not know the terrors and truths of slavery. Douglass learned through literacy and education that not every white man was an advocate for slavery. In fact, the majority of white men were against it. White slave owners held themselves high in regards to morality even though they did terrible things to their slaves. Douglass saw this and became angered because he knew right from wrong. This hypocrisy inspired him to become an abolitionist and fight to end

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