Friday, March 7, 2014

Part 2 "My Bondage,My Freedom"

 This is part 2 of a 3 part series on my summary of the book "my bondage,my freedom" by Fredrick Douglass. For part 1 click Here for part 3 click Here

   There came a time in Fredrick's life where the awareness of not only his physical condition was wretched but also his spiritual. He learned from a minster that "all men were, great and small ,bond and free, were sinners in the sight of God; that they were by nature, rebels against His government: and that they must repent of their sins, and be reconciled to 
God, through Christ." After this point in his life he wanted to see all men saved by Christ. He would collect the few pieces of scripture he could find to learn and study. He also began to teach other slaves how to read the bible. Through this the hypocrisies of the slave owners were brought to light. After learning that all men are equal in the sight of God, Douglass wondered how any professing Christian could also be a slave owner or in support of slavery. For example; he witnessed one of the cruelest slave drivers show absolutely no mercy during the week. If a slave gave him the wrong look, or were too slow for his liking they would be beaten or whipped. Yet when the Sabbath came around this same slave driver would walk around like the holiest saint there ever was. So you can see why Douglass would doubt when a slave owner said he was a Christian but continued to keep slaves and treat them harshly. Another example is regarding the sweet Christian
mistress who innocently taught him to read, she became hardened by her participation in the slave system. She eventually had less involvement in church and no intent on living a Godly life. Slavery either drew you away from Christianity or created you to be a Pharisee. Douglass said "I should regard the fact of being the slave of a religious slave holder, the greatest (calamity) that could befall me. For all slaveholder with whom I have ever met, religious slaveholders are the worst. I have found them, almost invariably, the vilest, meanest and basest of their class." After seeing so much hypocrisy Douglass began to doubt Christianity and seeking a religious life. Without access to any reading material and constantly being beaten by the slave driver Fredrick's resolve to escape from slavery almost disappeared. Hopelessness set in and he questioned if his life would ever be more than someone else's property.

            This despair lingered until one day when a slave driver tried to get ahold of Douglass to beat him. Instead of giving in he fought back. This was the first time he ever fought back and stood up for himself against a white man. Here was the moment in time when he felt he was more than property, more than an animal. He was a man. He had always been a man but slavery used all her power to convince him otherwise. The ideas of running away, the thoughts of freedom began overtaking his mind again.  With this new excitement he started to teach other slaves how to read the bible. He also started a plan to run away with a few of his fellow friends. This never took place because they were arrested on suspicion of their plan to escape. Eventually he was released from prison and sent to serve a family in Baltimore. He would find his own work to then be forced to give all his earnings to his master at the end of each week. This pushed him over the edge.
How could he work so hard to then be robbed of his wages by a man who did not earn it? A new escape plan came to being. (The details of the escape are left out of the book so no one involved would become a target of evil.) 

          Frederick Douglass is now a freeman. He fought the snare of slavery and won. He found work and kept his rightful wage. He was finally the master of his own person. No one told him what to do or how to do it. No one robbed him of his earnings and most importantly no one stopped him from obtaining an education. He began to partner with abolitionist to spread word of the anti-slavery movement. Everywhere he went he shared his experience as a slave and the horrors of the slave system.  Even though he was a freeman he still lived under the threat of being kidnapped and thrown back into bondage. He still had to deal with the ignorance of white men who treated black men as lower class citizens. It wasn't till a visit to England where he breathed his first breath of true freedom.

No comments:

Post a Comment