Frederick Douglass 1 How did the early years of Frederick Douglass’ life affect the beliefs of the man he would become? Frederick Douglass’ adulthood was one of triumph and prestige. Still, he by no means gained virtue without struggle and conflict. There was much opposition and hostility against him. To fully understand all his thoughts and beliefs first one must look at his childhood.
Frederick Augustus Bailey was born in February of 1818 to a black field hand named Harriet. He grew up on the banks of the Tuckahoe Creek deep within the woods of Maryland. Separated from his mother at an early age, he was raised by his grandparents Betsy and Isaac Bailey. Isaac and Betsy are not thought to be related. Isaac was a free man
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The slave head in charge of Frederick was the cruel cook, Aunt Katy. Although perhaps he deserved some of her wrath, being a very mischievous child, she was undoubtedly a little out of line. She took up a need to abuse him, mentally and sometimes physically. This may have sprouted from a resentment against his mother. One of Katy’s favorite acts of punishment was starvation. On one occasion when Frederick’s mother had come to visit, she had committed a terrible deed bye interfering in Katy’s eyes. Later in life Douglass talked very fondly of his mother. He remembers her as "having a natural genius, though unprotected and uncultivated." Douglass was also very proud of her literacy. He never knew her in his older years, however, because she died when he was only seven or eight.
Katy also resented Lucretia Auld, a resident of the house who had taken a liking to him, who gave him food when she wouldn’t. These were to her just more reasons to be hard on Frederick. After being caught up around master Lloyd’s house, Wye House, he was forbidden not to venture near there ever again.
Young Douglass loved to watch the people, especially Lloyd. He was a wealthy former Governor of Maryland and a senator and also an ideal example of an exploiter of the very profitable slave system. It is quite feasible that the reason he was so interested in Lloyd was because of Frederick’s lack of a father. In fact many historians believe that Lloyd may very