Frederick Douglass: The Fate Of Families During Slavery

Good Essays
Brandi Shell
English 2160
Dr. Howard
10/25/2017
The Fate of Families During Slavery In the mid-1800s the Abolitionist Movement in America focused attention on the injustice and horror of slavery. During this time some of the most gripping antislavery arguments were seen in literature. Antislavery literature written by male and female authors, both black and white, included a variety of genres. The most influential works were autobiographies, novels, and speeches. Those works showed Americans that the unjust issue of slavery was impossible to ignore, bringing to light the mental and physical suffering of slaves and the meaning of family. When the blacks were taken from their homes in Africa and forced to become slaves, they were not only separated
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Douglass’ autobiography The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass tells his life story from his time as a slave until he became a free man. The narrative begins by examining the effect that slavery has on his own family. When Douglass was a child he lived with his Grandmother, while his mother lived and worked miles away on a different plantation. She would walk late at night for hours just to see him. Although his mother could not visit much or stay too long she would endure the possibility of punishment just to have a few moments with her son. Douglass strongly believed that slave owners separated children from their parents on purpose to stop the development of affection between them. In the narrative, he talks about family as something that slavery prevents him from ever having. It was not until Douglass escaped slavery and became an Abolitionist that he decided to have the family that he never thought he could …show more content…
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano describes his time spent in slavery in the British colonies of North America and the Caribbean. The autobiography is focused on the destruction that the slave trade caused to families. Equiano's own life demonstrates how becoming a slave caused terrible harm to everyone involved. Equiano and his sister were kidnapped from their home when they were children. Soon after, they were separated, never to see each other or the rest of their family again. As much as Equiano wanted to be with his family he knew that they would never see each other again. In the narrative, someone even tells him that they knew where to find his sister. When he goes to see if it is his sister, he is not surprised when it turns out not to be her. Family meant as much as freedom to Equiano, but he only knew how to get back one, which was his

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