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why is frederick douglass not sure when he was born

Escape from slavery After the death of Captain Anthony, Douglass became the property of
Anthony s son-in-law. He was then hired out to a professional
slave breaker, a man who would beat and mistreat slaves until they gave
up and did whatever they were told. After weeks of being whipped,
Douglass finally fought back; after that the whippings stopped. The
Aulds then brought him back to Baltimore and put him to work in the
shipyards. There in 1838 he borrowed the identification papers of an
African American sailor. By passing himself off as the sailor, he was
able to escape to New York. He adopted the name Douglass and married a
free African American woman from the South. They settled in New Bedford,
Massachusetts, where several of their children were born. Douglass tried to make a living doing manual labor, and he quickly
became involved in the antislavery movement that was gaining strength in
the North.

In 1841, at an abolitionist meeting in Nantucket,
Massachusetts, he delivered a moving speech about his experiences as a
slave and was immediately hired by the Massachusetts Antislavery Society
to give lectures. Douglass was an eloquent speaker; that is, his
speeches were well thought out and forceful, and he was able to inspire
those who heard him. Some Harvard students who had heard him speak were
so impressed that they persuaded him to write an autobiography (the
story of his life). The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass was published in 1845. (Ten years later an enlarged autobiography,
My Bondage and My Freedom, appeared. His third autobiography, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, was published in 1881 and enlarged in 1892. ) Publishing the book was a dangerous move for Douglass, since it called attention to him and placed him in danger of being recaptured and returned to slavery.

Fearing capture, Douglass fled to Britain, staying from 1845 to 1847 to speak on behalf of abolition and to earn enough money to purchase his freedom once he returned to America. Upon his return Douglass settled in Rochester, New York, and started a newspaper, North Star, which called for an end to slavery. The paper would continue to be published under various names until 1863. In 1858, as a result of his fame and position as the voice of African Americans, Douglass was sought out by abolitionist John Brown (1800 1859). Brown asked Douglass to help him in an attack on an arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, which he thought would help the antislavery cause. Douglass, however, could see no benefit from Brown s plan and refused to lend his support. - б б б б б The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave details the progression of a slave to a man, and thus, the formation of his identity.

The narrative functions as a persuasive essay, written in the hopes that it would successfully lead to Бhastening the glad day of deliverance to the millions of [his] brethren in bondsБ (Douglass 331). As an institution, slavery endeavored to reduce the men, women, and children Бin bondsБ to a state less than human. The slave identity, according to the institution of slavery, was not to be that of a rational, self forming, equal human being, but rather, a human animal whose purpose is to work and obey the whims of their Бmaster. Б For t. [tags: The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass]

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