Frederick Douglass Influence

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The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, written by Douglass, himself, is a memoir complete with the grueling details of his enslavement and his journey to freedom. Without literacy, Douglass would have never liberated himself to become a free man. Through Sophia Auld, reading The Columbian Orator, and copying little Master Thomas’s school books, Frederick Douglass empowered himself to escape from the wretched bonds of slavery. Sophia Auld was the premier literary influence in Douglass’s life as a slave. Douglass remarks, “Very soon after I went to live with Mr. and Mrs. Auld, she very kindly commenced to teach me the A, B, C. After I had learned this, she assisted me in learning to spell words of three or four letters” (48). Southern…show more content…
While both skills are equally important, writing essentially catapulted Douglass into the success he would later acquire. Douglass explains, “…I used to spend the time in writing in the spaces left in Master Thomas’s copy-book, copying what he had written. I continued to do this… Thus, after a long, tedious effort for years, I finally succeeded in learning how to write” (57). Douglass did not allow his status as a slave to completely oppress him. He took any opportunity he could in order to educate himself. Learning how to write was critical to his life as a slave and afterwards. During his enslavement, Douglass made many attempts to free himself. He forged a letter for himself and a few other runaways to make it appear as though their master’s had sent them, if someone were to ask. No one would have been suspicious because in that time, it was nearly unheard of for a slave to possess the capability of reading or writing. After Douglass succeeded in emancipating himself, it was writing that allowed him to share his story with the world. The Afterword included in The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass states, “Douglass was lionized; his speeches were widely distributed, his narrative became a best seller in many languages; people wrote his slogans on walls and singers set words to his music. Children followed him around, and many women reacted to him as a sex symbol” (131). Douglass’s writing is the key fact that influenced him to become a phenomenal historical figure. As a result of his memoir, millions of people were enlightened and educated on the horrid facts of
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