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Freedom by Trickery

Uploaded by teapotica on Mar 05, 2001

In the Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass written by Fredrick Douglass, he and the rest of the slaves in 1840 had to be tricky to survive. Douglass used trickery to his advantage and made it into a positive action, freedom.

Douglass went through many hardships and disturbing ordeals. He witnessed his younger brother get his head bashed in, that in it self is horrific enough. He overheard Mr. Auld, one of his masters, telling Mrs. Auld that it was unsafe to teach a slave to read (Douglass 42). Douglass took this as motivation and strove to learn to read and write.

Douglass’s next master was Edward Covey, a well-known slave breaker, for a year. Covey was very tricky. He would pretend to ride into town, then walk back and sneak up on the slaves as to scare and deceive them. One day, after a severe beating by Covey, (Douglass 86) Douglass ran for refuge for one night from a slave named Sandy Jenkins. Jenkins believed that a certain root had magical powers and told Douglass that if he wore it on his right side no white man could beat him (Douglass 90). He returned the next day wearing the root, and to his surprise, Covey did not beat him for a time. A few days later, Covey tried to tie him up for a beating. Douglass fought back and after a two-hour struggle, Covey gave up. Since Covey did not want to ruin his reputation as a slave breaker, he never sent Douglass to the authorities to be punished for hitting a white man. Douglass used Covey’s own reputation against him and tricked him into never crossing and punishing him again.

When Douglass’s year was over with Covey, he went to live with Mr. Freeland. Freeland became his new master and had two slaves. A little while after Douglass came to live there, he sparked interest in the others and began to teach them to read and write in Sabbath school. “It was understood among all who came, that there must be as little display about it as possible.” (Douglass 103) Douglass managed to teach many, whom might suffer up to nine lashes for leaving their plantation (Douglass 104). The religious masters thought the slaves were spending the Sabbath in wrestling, boxing or drinking whisky, when all along they were learning to read and write. “I taught them because it...

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Uploaded by:   teapotica

Date:   03/05/2001

Category:   Slavery

Length:   4 pages (865 words)

Views:   1522

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