Towards his adolescent years Douglass begins to explore the term freedom and what it actually means to be free. He started to figure out that knowledge by itself was not enough to buy his freedom or guarantee his protection from the slave system. Douglass begins resisting his masters and actively fighting for his freedom. However, his masters notice his uprising so they send him to a slave breaker in hopes to break his spirit. Their attempts to break him work and Douglass enters the lowest point of his life. Douglass says that his “My long-crushed spirit rose, cowardice departed, bold defiance took its place; and I now resolved that, however long I might remain a slave in form, the day had passed forever when I could be a slave in fact. I did not hesitate to let it be known of me, that the white man who expected to succeed in whipping, must also succeed in killing me.”72 He describes this as a turning point in his life where he realizes that he would rather die than be treated like a slave, so from then on he makes breaking free his priority. He developed his first plan to escape when he was around eighteen years old but was unsuccessful in his attempt. A few years later he tries again and successfully escapes to New York and then to Massachusetts. Unfortunately, even after he is no longer bound to slavery, he realizes that he is nowhere near free and concludes that in order to truly have freedom, he has to completely eradicate slavery. This leads him to become an abolitionist leader and write his narrative to inspire and teach others about the immoralities of slavery.
Fredrick Douglass became a symbol of liberation for slaves across the country. He was born a slave that somehow had the courage and to escape from slavery and become a leader against oppression. Fredrick Douglass was important to America because unlike most enslaved people he actually makes it out of slavery and was able to tell his story and is become an agent for change in the black community. Douglass’ experiences in slavery gave him the opportunity to explain and interpret the practices of slavery to his audience.
Fredrick Douglass uses his book to depict to his readers what it is like to be a slave and how unjust it was for African Americans to not be treated as equals. From his book people are able to learn and educate themselves on the issue of slavery. Douglass’ views and beliefs play a very important role in the eventual eradication of slavery. His perseverance and determination to find freedom gave a very important message to other African Americans and also to people who were ignorant to the oppression.
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