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“Learning to Read and Write” by Frederick Douglass

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In “Learning to Read and Write” by Frederick Douglass, Douglass describes the hardships of his life. Even though my life experiences are different from Douglass in many ways, they are similar in many respects. Frederick Douglas lived through slavery, and in my lifetime I lived through the ends of the Cold War, Gulf War, terrorist attacks, and a time in which a person’s right is being more and more protected, for example the Civil Rights Act of 1991. In Frederick Douglass’s life they were many new regulations that modified the effects of slavery.

Frederick Douglass was brought up in slavery; as a small child he revolted against the system by breaking rules that were made to confine blacks. To read and write, he learned how to from a white person. When he learned enough, he decided to run away from his master. To avoid capture he changed his name, so that it wouldn’t seem to be a slave name. Later in his life he published his autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”. In fear of having his identity of a runaway slave being revealed, he fled to London.

There are many ways that Frederick Douglass spread his message of liberating blacks. He traveled throughout much of the North, speaking at antislavery meetings eand giving public lectures. He campaigned against slavery, but also for the civil rights of free blacks. Douglass soon became the leading black abolitionist and one of the most famous orators of the time. His enlightening words about his treatment as a slave were a powerful weapon against slavery. Douglass also rejected Garrison’s philosophy that slaves must actively resist their oppression. Douglass believed in the right of slaves to rebel and the right of fugitives to resist enslavement. He also helped people escape by using the Underground Railroad, a network of antislavery activists who helped smuggle slaves from the South. He joined other abolitionists in helping many of these runaway slaves to reach safety in Canada.

My life experiences are unlike Douglass in many ways. First, I didn’t have a childhood in which I was oppressed; I had loving parents that took care of my every need, and I did have a sheltered early life compared to Douglass’s. I lived through the ends of the Cold War and Gulf War. But at the time I really didn’t understand what was going on. Was just told that America had some problems with another country, and that it would be over when they work out their differences.

I live a pretty “normal” life, but now I’m starting to be more aware of the things that happen around me. Having experienced the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, I realized the true qualities that some malicious people exhibit. From the most recent attack I saw how Muslims were treated because of mistakes from a few people. People formed their own stereotypes about anyone who looked a certain way. This is somewhat the same case for Douglass. An entire group of people are persecuted because of the color of their skin, even though that the reasons aren’t exactly the same they have the same idea at play.

Many things have changed since slavery. The days of slavery are long gone, but are still remembered. Slavery stands a period of time in which the United States were settling the differences it had in itself. Since then blacks have become active people in today’s society, and everyone has equal rights not depending on race, religion, gender, age, color or national origin. Right now America is one of the most diverse countries in the world. It’s nice to know that we live in place where the government doesn’t discriminate against you. Even though that the people living here might form their opinions and discriminate against you America is a free country and people are allowed to think and do as they please to a certain extent.

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