Frederick Douglass by William


FrederickDouglass by William

FrederickDouglass by William

Thebook is about the life and times of Frederick Douglass. The bookprovides a narration of the life of Douglass as a slave, how he freedhimself and the passion that he pursued as a free man. FrederickDouglass was a slave during his younger years until he escaped to NewYork in his early twenties and later settled with his wife in NewBedford, Massachusetts. As a free person, Douglass joined tradeabolitionist movements and became a strong preacher and anti-slaverycampaigner. The book gives an account of the works that Douglass didand his philosophy. Moreover, the book presents his ideologiesagainst the evils of slavery and how he worked to promote freedom andequality for all.

Thebook is largely focused on the historical era of slavery. The entirebook focuses on the experiences of Douglass as a child in the slaverytimes and narrates how he spent his younger years as a slave. Thehistorical context of the book is the time when slavery was highlypracticed with white masters having legal claims over blacks asproperty and not as human beings. The book also reflects the contextof the peak of the anti-slavery and abolitionist movements whichDouglass was part of. It is in the abolition context that the bookfinds its meaning and significance to the society.

Thestory is told from a combination of different perspectives. The storyis told from the perspective of a politician, other writers andslightly from the perspective of a slave. However, the dominantperspective is that of a politician. The story reflects thepolitician’s perspective by presenting the issues that Douglass wasengaged to end through the abolitionist movements. The political mindappears to cover the story’s quest to present Douglass as a humanrights champion and a freedom fighter. The activities and trips thathe was engaged in presents a life of a politician with a mission forequal rights.

Williamwrites that “Douglass’s leadership often assumed a more moderateand emblematic quality that tended to overshadow its earlier, moreactivist and reformist quality” (William, page 169). However, thebook presents the perspective of a writer of the book since Williamwrites on the account that was already written by Douglass himself.

Themost interesting aspects of the book are those that reflect theincredible abilities of Douglass as a free slave. First, the mostinteresting thing about the book is the way it presents a slave whofrees himself and becomes one of the most respected human rightsactivists. Every part of the book that describes his ideologies andhis attitudes towards humanity is very interesting. This is because aperson would wonder how he was able to shift from the dangerous lifeof a slave to a life of a famous writer. The second thing that isinteresting is how he Douglass was able to learn how to read andwrite while he was a slave. Amazingly, he became so good at it thathe wrote and published books, which many learned whites could not doat the time.

Thebook also has several interesting parts. Thirdly, interesting part ofthe book is when Douglass writes a letter to his former master,Thomas Auld when he was a slave. He wrote challenging him on the needto free slaves, especially those that were related to Douglass(William 1995). The most interesting aspect of this part is whereDouglass asks the former master of how he would feel if her he cameto his homestead and took the daughter, Amanda as a slave. The fourthinteresting part of the book is when Douglass gave his speech at theBristol Antislavery Society, where William Lloyd Garrison discoveredhim.

Thefifth most interesting thing about the book is the presentation ofDouglass as not just an abolitionist, but also as a women`s rightscampaigner. William notes that, &quotI have about made up my mind,that if you can forgive me for being a Negro–I cannot do less thanforgive you for being a woman&quot (William, 1995 p. 249).

However,there are some boring things and parts of the book. The first boringthing about the book is the presentation of the slavery as asocial-economic practice instead of an evil inhuman behavior. Despitebeing a practice that gave the historical context of the book, it isan evil practice for humanity. The second boring thing about the bookis how the whites treated blacks as property. It takes heart to readthe book in modern times, since it exposed the suffering that blacksfaced at the hands of some evil white ideology. Thirdly, it is boringto learn of the events of the book through a narration that is givenby another writer, in this case William writing about Douglass.

Thefourth most boring part of the book is when Douglass escapes toEurope in the fear of the former white master Thomas. It is thefeeling of the reader that the years he spent as a free slave wouldmean no turning back no matter the pressure. It means that eventhough the slaves were free, they would be claimed back by thewhites. This introduces the fifth part of the book that is boring,the treatment of slaves as property. At one point, when Douglass hadescaped, he was captured and was almost sold to slave traders. It isboring to read through and comprehend how white masters, aided by thelaw would treat human beings like that.

Iwould like to read more about the individuals covered in the book.Particularly, I would like to read another book about the life ofDouglass and his life in freedom, not as a salve. In addition, Iwould like to read about other abolitionist champions who helpedDouglass to live the life he led. Particularly, I would like to readabout William Lloyd Garrison, who was instrumental in shapingDouglass as an abolitionist.

Theauthor can improve this book by making it more authoritative. Thiscan be made through the use of a stronger voice that condemns slaveryand the slave trade. The writer can use stronger words that will makethe reader hate slavery and appreciate freedom. Moreover, the writercan describe the life of Douglass with light words that express hishappiness and delight as a free person in comparison to his life as aslave.

Theauthor has some information that is left out. The book does not givethe most inner details in relation to the events that Douglass faced.For instance, the book does not give finer details of what Douglasswas doing while he was in Ireland as he escaped the threat of beingclaimed back by his former master. Moreover, the book omits theprovisions of the law that legalizes claiming of slaves a property atthe time. However, the book is interesting and provides an accountthat every person should read.


WilliamS. M. (1995). FrederickDouglass.New York: Norton.