Imagine yourself back in the early eighteen hundreds as black slave living on a plantation with death knocking on your door at any second. The only chance to survive this born-into captivity, is to humble yourself before a white master or attempt to escape to an unknown safe haven. To chance an escape would put your life at risk to the bounty hunters and cause severe brutality upon those you left behind. The only logical way to live ones life in these situations would be submissive from birth to death and to die quietly, so those remaining dont lose what little faith they have left. This is an example of the atrocities that occurred throughout our Great Nations history, and will forever be a scar for everyone to see.Order now
One individual lived through this time period and wrote about what he saw and endured. Frederick Douglass wrote an autobiographical account, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Essay, an American Slave, Written by Himself. This account of slavery is a prime example of what life on a plantation was like, and illustrates the effects of captivity, along with the sense of personal identity.
Frederick Douglass wrote his first autobiography when he was about twenty-seven years old. This age, which he had given himself, was not an actual written account, but a verbal comment that his master made when Douglass was about age seventeen. I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it (970).
Douglass gives comments to the fact that he, and other slaves, was not allowed to know such information about themselves. If a slave would ask about their birthday or what age they were, harsh treatment would generally be the resulting answer. The only recollection of a slaves birthday would revolve around the time of harvest during the seasons. They seldom came nearer to it than planting-time, harvest-time, cherry-time, spring-time, or fall time (970). This lack of personal identity would become one of the fundamental elements of oppression to a slave. Such personal information is vital to a slave, to know what day is the day of their birth and how long they have lived in captivity.
A want of information concerning my own was a source of unhappiness to me even during childhood. The white children could tell their ages. I could not tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege (970). To not know a part of ones own history, especially their age, is to leave a deep void within the slave; a burning desire to know such information would cause madness and any action of inquiry, would be met with equal amounts of physical pain. Physical pain was the key factor of submission, but when slave children were raised only knowing physical brutality, emotional pain tormented the soul even more.
Another action taken by the white masters was the act of making their female salves their personal concubines and then robbing the slave-mothers of their newly born children.
This act was performed when the child was about twelve months old, just being old enough to be stripped from the breast that fed and nourished them. Even though most of the slave-children were of mulatto decent from their white fathers, sparing a child from the loss of its mother was not considered and highly deemed as showing favoritism towards the slaves. Slaveholders have ordained, and by law established, that the children of slave women shall in all cases follow the condition of their mothers; and this is done too obviously to administer to their lusts, and make a gratification of their wicked desires profitable as well as pleasurable; for by this cunning arrangement, the slaveholder, in cases not a few, sustains to his slaves the double relation of master and father (971). The mother of the slave-child was usually sold off to some plantation some distance away. This was done to keep her from trying to make any attempt to see her child and to rid the plantation of any witness of the mulatto creation. The slave-child was then placed under the care of an old woman, who was too old for .