Fredrick Douglas, born in the state of Maryland, grew up without the knowledge of his age and father, which was a common thing about slaves (Frederick 1). He was taken from the care of his mother at a tender age, and the mother sold to a neighboring farm. The mother would visit at night and leave early in the morning making him not to develop any relationship with her (Frederick 2). He experienced the whipping of her Aunt by the slave master, which was the bloodiest thing for a young man. The separation from the mother at the young age meant that he did not feel any remorse for her death. The children received allowances from the slave master, which consisted of two shirts meant to last for a year. The yearly receipt of the clothing meant that older children in the community went naked because of lack of clothes.
The slaves lived under deplorable conditions like the lack of beds, thus they had to spend their nights on the floor waiting for the following day. Slaves were supposed to wake up early in the morning and report to their posts. Slaves who reported late on their posts received slashes from their masters. The slaves used to sing while they went to collect their dues on the way to the masters’ house and back to the farm. The writer asserts that singing was a way of showing their joy of anger towards slavery (Francis 11). The slaves because of hunger tried to steal fruits and food from their master’s farms. The slaves caught stealing received slashing from the overseers of the farms.
The slave owners such as Lloyd owned multiple farms. The main farm was used as a place where machine work was carried. Slaves who worked at the main farm felt that their boss and overseer trusted them. The master had a farm that reared horses and some slaves hired as keepers. The horse sickness or slowness in running led to the punishment of the slaves by the master. The master would blame the slaves of neglecting the horses by not feeding them well. The worst experience for the writer was when the master sold one of the slaves to Georgia because he talked the truth about the poor conditions in the farm (Frederick 15). The sale of the slave separated him from friends and families. Mr. Gore, one of the overseers, killed a slave because of not heading to his advice (Francis 20). The killing did not result in a judicial proceeding in order to get him punished. The overseer claimed that the killing was necessary to ensure other slaves did not resort to disobedience of their master's orders. The slaves would not institute any judicial proceedings because their evidence was not admissible in the courts.
The writer had a chance of learning how to read and write from one of his master’s wives. The learning was halted when the wife was instructed that teaching a nigger was illegal (Francis 29). The whites believed that teaching niggers would make them enslaves the whites. The movement in Baltimore allowed the writer to experience the difference in treatment of farm and town slaves. The town slaves were better fed and clothed because the masters feared to be labeled cruel slave owners. Slave owners treated the slaves as properties. The writer upon death of his master in Baltimore, he was taken for valuation together with other slaves. The slaves were valued together with animals such as pigs, goats, and chicken.
Captain Auld, one of the slave owners was mean to his slave. The captain would keep food in the stores while the slaves were hungry. The captain had gained the slaves through marriage, which made him furious in order to show his authority (Frederick 45). The master and his wife would pray to God to bless them with a lot of food while they continued mistreating slaves. The slave’s attempt to form a Sabbath school was crushed by the master. The Sabbath school was supposed to educate slaves on reading and writing skills.
Slaves tried escaping from their farms in the south when the chances arose. Douglas planned the escape by hiring his time while paying his master. He escaped to New York where he felt lonely because he had left his friends in Baltimore. The arrival of Douglas in New York saw him get married before moving to Bedford, which was a free state (Frederick 92). Churchmen who believed New York was not safe for slaves facilitated the movement to Bedford. The movement to the North by Douglas allowed him to get a job where he did not pay his slave owner named Hugh any weekly allowances. The people of the North did not believe in slavery, but discrimination was practiced in the workplace. The discrimination made it hard for colored people to get jobs that were reserved for the whites. In Bedford, Douglas attended an anti-slavery meeting and had a chance of addressing white men, a thing that would not have happened in the South (Frederick 100).
Frederick, Douglas. Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglas. New York: Dover Press, 1995. Print.