Racism and the Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

Racism and the Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

Length: 1137 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Examining Prevalent Attitudes on Racism and the Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave


When we look at the issue of racism from a politically correct, nineties perspective, evidence of the oppression of black people may be obscured by the ways in which our society deals with the inequalities that still exist. There are no apparent laws that prohibit or limit opportunities for blacks in our society today, yet there is a sense that all things are not fair and equal. How can we acknowledge or just simply note how past ideologies are still perpetuated in our society today? We can examine conditions of the present day in consideration of events in the past, and draw correlations between old and modern modes of thinking. Attitudes of racism within the institutions of education, employment and government are less blatant now than in the day of Frederick Douglass, none the less, these attitudes prevail.

Once Frederick Douglass had developed a reputation as a brilliant speaker he was urged to write his Narrative by one of his mentors, John A. Collins, in order to "dispel growing public doubts about his experiences as a slave."(Miller 1753) As Douglass recounts his personal circumstance the reader is informed of the main issues surrounding slavery. When we look at attitudes held by political figures around this time we get the impression it was never the ambition of the white man to integrate black slaves into society. As Supreme Court Chief Justice Taney explains in the Dred Scott Case of 1846, "{Africans slaves} were not intended to be included under the word "citizens" in the constitution and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument allows"(Roots of Resistance). In th...


... middle of paper ...


...f inequality prevails in our country to this day. This is not to say that the entire white race carries the same bias of their predecessors. However, it's important to consider the ways in which current popular attitudes carry a vestige of attitudes held in the days of slavery.


Works Cited

Davis, Kenneth C. Don't know much about history. New York: Crown Publishing Inc. 1990

Douglass, Frederick "Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter. Boston: Houghton Mifflin 1998

Miller, James A. "Frederick Douglass 1818-1895" The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter. Boston: Houghton Mifflin 1998
Roots of Resistance. The American Experience Series. PBS, 1989

Zinn, Howard. A People's History of the United States. New York:Harper Perennial 1995

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Truth vs. Fiction in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Uncle Tom's Cabin

- Truth vs. Fiction in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Uncle Tom's Cabin It is often said that truth is stranger than fiction. Perhaps, this is so, as truth wears no veil; it is stark reality. There are no soft edges in truth. Only the most zealous hunters, those willing to meet the sword, actively seek it. The majority, while considering ourselves open to the truth, may only realize it when it comes disguised as something else. In short, it seems that we need to see it as not threatening, but molded and plied into something we can digest....   [tags: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass]

Strong Essays
2403 words (6.9 pages)

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas Essay

- Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas Frederick Douglas, a slave born in Tuckahoe Maryland, was half white and half black. His mother was a black woman and his father a white man. Though he never knew his father, there was word that it was his master. Douglas wrote this narrative and I felt that it was very compelling. It really showed me the trials and tribulations that a black man went through during times of slavery. In his early years, Douglas lived on a farm where he watched many slaves receive harsh beatings and whippings....   [tags: Slave Narratives]

Strong Essays
712 words (2 pages)

Frederick Douglass And His Development As National Hero Essay

- Frederick Douglass is one of the most famous African American civil rights activists. He was born in "Talbot County, Maryland around 1818". Where he lived his early life as a plantation slave, sometime after his mother 's death he was sent to Baltimore to live with Hugh Ald. Being in unfamiliar surroundings with no support was very difficult for Douglass. However, Douglass 's time in Baltimore would mark the beginning of his development as national hero. During his stay in Baltimore Sophia, Hugh Ald 's wife would teach Douglass how to read and write....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, Frederick Douglass]

Strong Essays
1149 words (3.3 pages)

The Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass Essay

- Maryland Slave Experience and what is 4th of July to a slave This work is part of Frederick Douglass book: “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” at Bedford/St. Martin 's; 2nd edition (December 25, 2002), and it is about Frederick Douglass Experience as a slave in Maryland and does 4th of July meant to a slave. Frederick Douglass was an African-America who was born into slavery in Tuckahoe, near Hillsborough, in Talbot County, Maryland. When he started writing “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,” he was not sure of his age....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, Slavery]

Strong Essays
831 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass

- The autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass an American Slave is about African American slave, social reformer, orator, writer, statesman, and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass. The book is not a recommended read for children due to its advanced vocabulary and explicit content, but is highly encouraged to anybody from teens to elders. It recalls real life historical events that are told in a personal point of view, keeping the story interesting but factual at the same time. This narrative was written as an autobiography because the author, Frederick Douglass himself, wanted to personally share his life experiences growing up in slavery....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, Abolitionism]

Strong Essays
930 words (2.7 pages)

The Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass Essay example

- ... Not only do he and his teams of slaves seize control of the ship and assert their power over their White capturers, but he also accomplishes this feat without any substantial suspicion from Delano who repeatedly praises himself from his insight. Although the slave mutiny could have been successful if Cereno had not jumped out of the ship, Babo’s strategy is nonetheless genius, because he did so by adhering to the White man’s fantasy of a happy-go-lucky, devoted “shepherd 's dog” of the White man....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, Slavery]

Strong Essays
1082 words (3.1 pages)

The Life Of Frederick Douglass 's ' The Slave ' Essay

- ... Dressed as a sailor in stolen clothes from his free black wife, and armed with papers from a fellow black seaman, Douglass headed along the Chesapeake River to Philadelphia. His trip from slavery to freedom lasted about 24 hours. Once he arrived he immediately sent for Murray, and they were soon married on September 25, 1838. They moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he joined in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church because white Methodist churches were segregated. Through becoming a minister, he honed his oratorical skills and later delivered a speech in Elmira, New York which was a station on the Underground Railroad....   [tags: Abolitionism, Slavery in the United States]

Strong Essays
1195 words (3.4 pages)

The Dehumanization Process in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave

- The Dehumanization Process in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave Throughout American history, minority groups were victims of American governmental policies, and these policies made them vulnerable to barbaric and inhumane treatment at the hands of white Americans. American slavery is a telling example of a government sanctioned institution that victimized and oppressed a race of people by indoctrinating and encouraging enslavement, racism and abuse. This institution is injurious to slaves and slave holders alike because American society, especially in the south, underwent a dehumanization process in order to implement the harsh and inhumane doctrine....   [tags: American America History]

Strong Essays
2196 words (6.3 pages)

Racism Is Still Very Much Alive Or Not? Essay

- ... The idea of restraining them from the ability to learn to read and write was to suppress them and make sure they were not allowed to express feelings, ideas, or possibly get out of being in slavery. Throughout history as racism moved through the years, it has seen improvement in its plight. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man, which caught the attention of Martin Luther King Jr. It was he who led the Bus Boycott and from then on he continued a number of powerful speeches, and the never- forgotten “I Have a Dream” speech was the most controversial....   [tags: United States, Racism, Barack Obama]

Strong Essays
1489 words (4.3 pages)

Frederick Douglas, An Abolitionist Essay example

- Many lives were lost during the abolishment of slavery in the United States of America and many committed their whole lives to break the chains of slavery. Without these contributors, slavery would most likely be part of our lives today as it was hundreds of years ago. One person that was a huge factor in the abolishment of slavery was a man named Frederick Douglas. This man escaped slavery and could’ve lived his life off as a free slave. But instead he wanted others to experience what he was able to and so he helped in the abolishment of slavery....   [tags: Slavery, Racism]

Strong Essays
579 words (1.7 pages)