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Posted on April 19th, 2012, by

The notion of slavery had always been a vital and delicate problem even long before the Civil War broke out. The abolitionists from the North strongly criticized the slaveholders’ policy of the South. Southerners used their own arguments, defending their position.

The name of Frederick Douglass is closely related to the notion of slavery and its abolition. He was a well-known leader and fighter against slavery and brutal treatment towards black people. His narration, written in 1845, was said to be the most influential of all African-American books about slavery (Matlack, 1989). In order to present his views and to build the system of his arguments Douglass used the story of his own life, as he was born a slave, presumable from the white slave owner. He accidentally had the chance to learn writing and reading, which was prohibited for salves, because slave owners realized, that education would be the starting point and important means for the slaves to fight for their freedom.

This was a rather widespread practice of the white slaveholders raping their slave women aiming at satisfying their sexual desires and at the same time increasing the number of their slaves. The author told us about his childhood, education and escape. He managed to escape only after the second attempt, in September 1838, when he caught a train to Havre de Grace, Maryland, being dressed in a uniform of a sailor and with documents of free black seaman.

However officially he became free only after his British supporters paid to his former slaveholder. Later on Douglass got to New York, where “he was a leader of Rochester’s Underground Railroad movement and became the editor and publisher of the North Star, an abolitionist newspaper”ť (Matlack, 1989)..

What is really important, Douglass didn’t simply denounce the slavery in the South, he was aware of the fact that the whole slavery system should be unacceptable for any society. Thus, this narration can not be considered a simple autobiographical story; this is rather a manifest against slavery, written by an educated enough former slave, who was able to see this problem, this phenomenon from the very inside. His main message was to struggle for triumph of justice and freedom. Douglass built his argumentation on the discrediting the main myths, fabricated around the notion of slavery.

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