The Importance Of Literacy In Frederick Douglass

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Literacy played a huge role in the life of Frederick Douglass. Being literate was a blessing as well as a curse. In the 1800’s it was extremely unusual for a person of color to be literate, and it was even more uncommon was for a slave to be literate. Keeping the slaves illiterate was done so on purpose. Knowledge was power and the white slave owners did not want to relinquish power of any kind. If a slave could read and write then that would give them sense of humanity which was to be avoid at all cost. If the slaves were illiterate then that made them completely ignorant to the idea of a world outside of slavery, making them one-hundred percent dependent on their masters. Most of the time the slaves didn’t even know their own age. Depriving …show more content…
What gave white people the sense of superiority? Literacy was a right taken away from slaves by their oppressors. The slaves who worked on plantations where often times the most illiterate. They had one purpose, and one purpose only and that was to work from sunrise to sunset. Literacy was about as likely as freedom for a slave. If a slave learned to read and write it was often times done in secrecy, and if their masters found out about it they were punished severely. It was likely that a white child was smarter than the average slave. The slave owners went to any means necessary to make the slaves believe that they had it good on the plantation and they would be worse off anywhere else. The slaves may have been ignorant, but they knew they didn’t deserve what was being done to …show more content…
The more Frederick read the more he began to understand the true horror of his life. The truth of this knowledge made Frederick a resentful person, but he had every right to be. “It had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy. It opened my eyes to the horrible pit, but to no ladder upon which to get out. I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity” (Narrative 54). Being able to understand the life he lived haunted him every day. It was as if the seed had been planted, but was given no water or sunlight to grow. Frederick began to recognize the difference between living on the plantation and being a city slave, which made him even more grateful for the time he spent in

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