A slaves point of view

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In the narrative that Frederick Douglass gives, I find myself learning many new things about slavery. I was especially suprised to learn that people were so cruel and brutal back then. Has anyone else learned anything new about slavery? I'm sure that many bad things went on during slavery but could everything sound worse since this is coming from a former slave? A slaveholder would probably have a completely different story, right?

-- Anonymous, February 03, 2000


The thing that gets me the most about the slavery issue is that slaves were no better than their master's livestock. In many cases animals were treated better than slaves. I also can not see how men could use the Bible and Christianity to justify slavery. As for cruelty "back then" I am not sure that men have elevated themselves much since the time of slavery. Ex. The African American man that was chained to the back of a pick up truck and dragged down the road. Thats pretty cruel.

-- Anonymous, February 04, 2000

I was shocked at how Douglass told us the slave children were fed. The mush was poured into a trough and the children were summond, after that each child had to fend for himself. They had to eat as fast as they could before it was gone, The stronger ones got more because they could push the smaller children away. This inhumane way of treating children disgusted me. Douglass likened it to how pigs are fed, his comparison was very near the truth! I was amazed at how the slave owners truly thought that slaves were no better than livestock. In some cases I'm sure the livestock were treated better than the slaves.

-- Anonymous, February 04, 2000

I was very uneducated about the religious masters and how they were very strict. I also do not see how they could justify the cruelty through Christianity. The slaves were treated as a piece of livestock or possession, and were not even given enough food or clothing to remain strong enough. Another thing that I found interesting was when Douglass talked about having a feeling or touch of what freedom would be like, yet knowing that he could not have it. And that being the hardest thing for him. He wished that he did not have any grasp of what freedom would be like as to not have it tear at him forever.

-- Anonymous, February 04, 2000

The fact that Douglass had a white father was something new that I learned about slavery. He said that there was a possibility that his master could have been his father. That was very surprising to me. I didn't think that slaveholders would ever sleep with a slave. I think that his story may sound worse because we know he was a slave, but I do believe everything he say is true. He describes the horrible details of the stories in a way that I don't think could be made up.

-- Anonymous, February 06, 2000

I would venture to say that slaveholders were inherently different as individuals. Some were probably decent enough people who didn't rape, torture, murder and regularily terrify slave families with threats of permanently separating their families. However, the meaner, baser element of slaveholders may have done things to slaves that were far worse than what Douglass described. The laws of the time stated that children born of a slave who had a white father (the plantation owner) were to "follow the condition of the mother." It's conceivable that many female slaves were forced to have children simply to increase the slave population of the plantation. The psychological damage to slave women and to the mistress of the plantation because of the whole sordid situation must have been horrible.

-- Anonymous, February 07, 2000

I learned last semester in my american history class that the percentage of big slave owning farms, like the big house farm in Frederick Douglass and the other "gone with the wind" type plantations, was relatively small. I did learn however that slavery was not looked at as being a sanction of cruelty, it was just a way of life. The slave owner's father had been a slave owner, his grandfather had been ect, so it was not looked at as a bad thing only a way of life. It was not only until people started to protest the inhumane, cruel acts of it, did Southerners ever see their fault. Their acts were however very cruel. I was astounded to read about some of the cruelties such as the women being beaten by the males, hung up and lashed for no reason. I did not realize, however that slaves were no given enough provisions sometimes. In gerneral, I thought they were well taken care of because they were needed on the plantation, however, I see now that they were treated worse than

-- Anonymous, February 07, 2000

I learned many new things about slavery. First of all, I had no idea that the owners used their slaves as mates. I thought it would have been unheard of to have any kind of relationship with slaves. I also thought that slavery didn't exist in the Northern states. Since the story took place in Maryland, I now know that wasn't true.

-- Anonymous, February 07, 2000

I, also, was unaware of how the owners treated their slaves. I knew that they were very cruel, but I don't think that the actual severity of it really sunk in. I knew of owners beating their slaves, but the way that Douglass explained it to me was a real eye opener. Douglass is an excellent writer in that he explained things in such detail and he made you actually realize what happened. Before I read this I never would have imagined how bad slaves really had it.

-- Anonymous, February 08, 2000

Yes, I found myself learning new things about slavery. I never thought about the children who were the kids of a slave and a master. This would cause many problems on the farms. I could not imagine seeing a family member being beat on. It is hard to believe that people could be this cruel. The stories between a slave and a master would probably be very different. A slave will tell how cruel it was, where as a master would try to make it sound less cruel.

-- Anonymous, February 08, 2000

It seems as though Fredrick told a story of both good and bad. He seems to have positive memmories of Baltimore and negative ones of the plantations. Because of this, I feel as though Fredrick was giving an accurate account of what was going on at those times. I have read of similar stories that attest to the harshness of plantation slaves, and yet, I have also heard of slaves being treated as hired men. Fredrick seems to have experienced both ends of the spectrum.

-- Anonymous, February 08, 2000

Throughout the narrative that Fredrick Douglass gave, I already had heard alot of it, but not quite into such depth. For example the brutality of the whippings or the way the slaves were treated depending on the way the horses were acting, yet the slaves were never tought how to specifically do their job within the barn, they were just supposed to know what their master's wanted and if they did it wrong they were beaten harshly.

-- Anonymous, May 30, 2000

Something that I did not realize was that they basically bred a black female and a black male to acquire more slaves to work their land. It's much like breeding dogs, that's completely horrible! I had not ever heard of the slaves getting an allowance for food and clothing. When the food was gone and the clothing wore off, that was it. I guess I had thought that the slave owners would want to keep their slaves strong, boy, was I way off!

-- Anonymous, May 31, 2000

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