Quote: "During this time, I succeeded in learning to read and write, in accomplishing this I was compelled to various stratagems."
Comment: I find this very interesting because Fredrick was a unique slave. He was able to learn a skill very few slaves had at the time.
Question: What motivated fredrick to learn how to read and write?
I agree Frederick Douglas was a unique slave. I think he was motivated to learn how to read, and write, because he knew he needed these skills to get to freedom. Most of the other slaves had no education, and he was lucky enough to get one.
Frederick was really a one of a kind person, using the little access that he had to education and expanding it so greatly is very amazing.
I agree that it was very rare for slaves to be so motivated to teach themselves how to be able to read and write. It is also very inspiring since even though he was going through such terrible times, he still found the strength to teach himself those skills.
Im happy for Frederick that he took the time to learn these, It is very important and this will be very useful in the future.
Book: The Narrative Life Of Frederick Douglass
Quote: "When these failed them, they went naked until the next allowance-day. Children from seven to ten years old, of both sexes, almost naked, might be seen at all seasons of the year."
Comment: I am repulsed and astonished that the quote above is true, slave children where given little too nothing and left naked through any weather. Meaning this small children who had no family and no hope would freeze against the cold winter with only their skin to keep them warm. It is disgusting that people then would see these naked children and do nothing for them all because of their skin, it is horrible that they where put through that humiliation. A child then should have been seen as a baby, either dark or light skinned, there was no difference. They where born with love in their hearts and when you would take one child who had light skin and praise them like a gift from god, and then take another with dark skin and spit on them as if they where dirt...its unthinkable. Kids where harmless, kids where innocent in any account and they where treat as trash and left naked. It was hard to read that page with out picturing a small child huddled against a house during a winter bare to the skin, it breaks my heart thinking of it.
Question: What possessed these people to not give an innocent child clothes?
I agree. I hate how people back then can have so much favoritism towards one skin and so much prejudice and discrimination to another. Just because they have darker skin it doesn't mean they have some crazy ability to survive the winter with nothing but their own skin. They are STILL human beings. What gives anyone the right to do something like that?
The people who did this had the same biology as us. We believe what we believe because we were raised to, but if we were raised racist we would probably be racist. I was thinking about that today. Most of us, born into these times would be slave owners or slaves ourselves.
I agree that all kids are born with a heart, but when one race is getting clothes and the other isn't. Then it starts to turn into hate as they grow up.
Bear in mind that this is a world where children, women and people who aren't white are constantly abused and have no control over their own future. This system is brutal because it serves those who hearts are cold, and this has only been reduced by a tiny fraction in the current day. Racism, not to this extent but definatly considerable, still exists in today's world. Minorities, Indians, Blacks and Hispanics, still face that unending hatred that comes when a country that says they are a stock-pot of acceptance where any man can make his way if he works hard enough, and yet that country is ruled by white men who have never worked, by which I mean manual labor, a day in their lives.
I also am repulsed that someone could be so ignorant as to value social status and not helping a child who is literally freezing to death just because of their skin.
Book: The Narrative Life of Fredrick Douglas
Quote: Experience is a keen teacher; and long before you had mastered your A B C, or knew where the “white sails” of the Chesapeake were bound, you began, I see, to gauge the wretchedness of the slave, not by his hunger and want, not by his lashes and toil, but by the cruel and blighting death which gathers over his soul.
Comment: Even at a young age, slaves knew what was going on. They knew what the Europeans were doing. They understood the disparity of their situation and yet still understood that there was little to do about it. But this man even before he knew the alphabet he saw the cruelty and wanted to get rid of it just for that reason. And it's crazy also because where he lived, was supposedly the "part of the country where we are told slavery appears with its fairest features". I just can't even imagine what a community would look like if even the children saw the discrimination and injustice of white over black skin.
Question: If a young boy was able to notice the inhumanity and ruthlessness of his fellow dark skinned friends, family, and people around him, then how come it no one realized how bad it was? If the area he lived in was the best around and it was still a terrible place, then what would the rest of slavery look like elsewhere?
I completely agree with what you said about slaves understanding their lives and circumstances as children- most of slaves are born into slavery.
I agree that it was amazing that no one saw it as a problem. However,people believe what they want to believe and see what they want to see. The same thing in different lights can look like something else entirely.
I agree, perspective changes the way people justify things and they will always try to justify what they are doing.
Quote: She would lie down with me, and get me to sleep, but long before I waked she was gone.
Comment: I thought it was amazing how much Frederick Douglas's mother loved him, and he never got to see her. She was willing to sneak and take care of him at night when he was sleeping and would be gone by day without getting in trouble. That's a huge risk. Its a shame that Frederick Douglas never really knew her that well, but she was a good caring person.
Question: Did any of the slave honors think it was okay for a slave to grow up with their mother? Doesn't everyone deserve to grow up with a parent or guardian growing up even if they are slaves?
I don't think there were considered human beings. The same way dogs we adopt grow up without a puppy momma, the slaves were expected to grow up without a slave momma.....or at least I think so....
What you just wrote was incredibly powerful Chloe- I absolutely agree that as slaves they were treated like dogs; trained to be loyal and to be of assistance to the slave master.
Yeah you have a good point Chloe, they weren't necessarily given basic needs such as growing up with a mom. I wonder how the slaveholders back then felt about this.
Great connection Chloe!
I agree with what you said about how it was very inspiring that his mother went through so much trouble just to lay down with him for a couple of hours at night and put herself through so much risk to be there.
I think it was a tactic they used to instill helplessness amongst the slave children.Family is seen as a sort of refuge and when you take that away from someone at a young age it makes them feel like they have nowhere else to go.
Remember that slaves were treated and lived as animals. However, even livestock stay with their mothers for a certain period of time, because it keeps them safe and teaches them how to live.
Well, if you remember from the zinn reading we learned that they are trying take away everything from them so that they are weak, so that means family too.
Solomons introduction leading up to this quote describes 18th century america, and this life within it. He Can play violin, and is married to a wife who cooks good food for a living. He describes a happiness connected to seeing his children, and a life of general freedom. The problem is that Northup lives in a world of slavery, and old world values centered around the color of his skin make him a less than human being. I wonder, how will this world change his life in the coming chapters. What is going to change his life?
“Into the thick darkness I was soon to disappear.”
I'm not reading the same book, but that quote gave me chills! I think I'll have to read it sometime soon
Quote: "Freedom now appeared, to dissappear no more forever. It was heard in every sound, and seen in everything. It was ever present to torment me with a sense of my wretched condition. I saw nothing without seeing it, i heard nothing without hearing it, and felt nothing without feeling it. it looked from every star, it smiled in every calm, breathed in every wind, and moved in every storm" (narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglass, 46)
Comment: I separated this quote from the rest because of its simple yet deep words. His passion and life filling addiction is impossible to read over and not stop to think about. It amazes me how freedom was something like a dream to him back then, and now we current teenagers take it for granted. Often i hear people complain how we "aren't really a free country", but i don't think we know what its like to not have our freedoms in day to day lives. As a young teenager Fredrick knows a right-less world all too well, and only a glimpse of a world with rights.
Question: Did most white children feel the same as their slave owner parents?
That is a great question, i would also love to know the answer to that.
Book: The Narrative Life of Fredrick Douglas
Quote: “No words, no tears, no prayers, from his gory victim, seemed to move his iron heart from its bloody purpose.”
Commentary: This quote really struck me about Mr. Plummer. I couldn't believe that someone could actually get, for lack of a better word, joy out of beating and whipping slaves. Not only would he physically attack them, but he would also verbally attack by constantly cursing in an extremely offensive way. The man was so unbelievably terrible to the slaves that even the master would get upset with him for the constant beating and swearing. It is crazy to me that people were so blind and cruel back then to even think for the slightest second that kind of behavior was okay.
Question: How were people so convinced that how they were treating the slaves was right and not unjust?
It pains me to say it, but I honestly just think it was the standard way of treating people of different colors back then. It's extra heartbreaking because of the way religion was so prevalent during that time; why can't anyone see that it is clearly against the fundamental principle of love?
I have the same question myself about the morals of the slave owners.
This reminds me of ethnocentrism because us current americans are in utter shock knowing what happened to slaves back then. While in their times, it was completely normal. We believe it is wrong, but they found their actions and desires were just.
I have had the same question, but it seems that people will always try to find justification for their actions
"He whipped, but seemed to take no pleasure in it. He was called by the slaves a good overseer."
What really stood out to me about this quote is that the slaves recognized this man as a good person despite still treating them like animals.For them the good was despicable by any other person's standards.. Although he was not as bad their previous overseer he still lacked the humanity to view these people as humans. He may not have enjoyed hitting them, but he still held the whip in his hands. During these times treating a slave with an ounce of respect a person was considered a saint, while treating them like animals was considered the norm.
Why would the slaves viewed him as a good overseer?
I agree that it is sickening that a slave owner who treats his "property" with barely a modicrum of kindness is considered "good." I feel like that may be why the slaves see the new owner as a good man.
I think the slaves viewed him as good because he wasn't cruel. Its hard to say how much these slaves had gone through, but this man wasn't eager to add to it. Unlike the other overseers, he
I agree I don't think he felt all bad because in the end he still whipped them. I thought it was sad knowing that the slaves saw him a a good overseer because he still caused harm to them
Book: 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
Quote: "All his brutal blows could not force from my lips the foul lie that I was a slave."
Comment: This quote in particular struck me for a few reasons. For one, I find it admirable that Northup is so resistant to say that he is a slave escaped from Georgia (a lie), even though saying that would be an easy way for him to escape the cruel torture he subsequently endures. On the other hand, it makes me wonder whether or not Solomon's new owner, James H. Burch, knows that he is not a slave. He keeps repeating and screaming that Northup is a liar, and a no-good runaway, which some might argue is him trying to cover up his wrong-doing; I, however, can see it also meaning that he doesn't know Solomon is a free man. This, in my opinion, wouldn't excuse Burch's torturing or purchase of Solomon, but it may shed some light on how he was captured in the first place (the book so far has left that unclear).
Question: Do you think Burch knows that Solomon is a free man?
I thought Solomon was very brave for not doing what he said although he must have been in pain he didn't want to be known as a slave and no one would he knew his importance and didn't treat himself as a slave but rather a human being
I really like your question, and I do think that Burch knows that Solomon is a free man, but doesn't care because the fact that since he was "sold" to him he isn't free anymore.
Book: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
Quote: "After apologizing for his ignorance, and remained the audience that slavery was a poor school for the human intellect and heart, he proceeded to narrate some of the facts in his own history as a slave, and in the course of his speech gave utterance to many noble thoughts and thing reflections."(page 4)
Comment: This quote came from the preface and it really caught my eye because it is super relatable to, for me at least. The first part talks about ignorance. I believe his ignorance could possibly be not knowing that he deserves to be equal and not be property. The second part is talking about how Frederick Douglass apologized for not being smart enough or not connected to the heart either. I believe I am not smart because I make the dumbest mistakes or just mistakes in general. With connecting to the heart could be seen as connecting to people or how to relate to others. That can also be scaring and difficult with you come from a completely different world from someone else. In the third and final part he basically describes his life. It is a life that is completely different from all of the other men in the room and a life that is extremely hard to comprehend. I know I say yes I understand what these men and women went through as slaves, but I really can't because I don't leave a life that is close to that or I have never seen something so terrible before I really could image.
Question: My question doesn't really relate to to book but more of a time period question. Why did we, as Americans, treat slaves like property, not humans, and justified it by saying the bible said it was okay, when most other countries and places just treated them with less rights?
That question has probably been up for debate as soon as slavery was abolished. I think some people just have moral compasses that don't point North and have a stronger desire for wealth and power than empathy in them. It's incredibly awful and caused immense suffering.
“ A want of information concerning my own was a
source of unhappiness to me even during childhood.”
This quote shows how the slave owners didn't want their slaves to know anything. I think that they wanted this to happen because they didn't want them to be like normal people at all. They wanted them to be property and not resemble a normal human being ,so they could feel ok with how they were treating them. That made the slaves feel inferior to other people. An example of this from the reading was when he talked about when he was a kid not knowing his age like the rest of the kids.
Question Why couldn't the slaves know some harmless information like their age?
To your question.Well I think that what you said is totally true and I also think that the more that they slaves new, the more curious they might get and that would be headed toward a kind of education maybe and that is exactly what the slave owners did'nt want,or else the slaves would not be as easy to control.
I agree with tristan. It was not what the "authorities" wanted.
I agree with your comment and it gives me a new perspective on the quote you chose. I agree that it is meant to make slaves feel more like animals, and subhuman.
It is an interesting question you bring up. I really believe that people didn't allow their "property" to know anything about themselves, because it would impose that they are human. Which no one wanted, because it would have lead to dangerous thoughts, such as equality. If that happened then the owners would lose control.
Quote:”It required extraordinary barbarity on the part of an overseer to affect him.”
Comment: I think this quote really resembles the trouble they had to go through as slaves not only showing no they had a terrible slave owner but an even worse overseer appointed to watch them. In the book that describes that this is no justification to make the slaveowner any nicer. He was still an extraordinarily brutal person but, compared to the overseer he was not as bad. It was quite interesting to hear that the slaveowners restraint on the oversteer made him look a little bit better then if the overseer was not brutal to them at all. But the author does mention that in the book and tries to explain that despite the comparison that makes him seem nicer he was still an absolutely terrible person.
Question: It seems as if the slaves were able to communicate with each other, why didn't they stage a revolt, only having a few people to take over on the plantation? Gardening tools are very effective weapons and compared to the muskets at the time they could only shoot one slave, before having to reload. And if they managed to take over the individual plantation then they would definitely have to deal with the authorities who would come after them, but in the end would that be worth more then spending the rest of their lives as slaves?
I think that they would be discouraged to start a revolt because they would have severe consequences if it didnt work.
I agree with Grant, because even if they took over a plantation, they would still be executed for the insurrection.
“...No words, no tears, no prayers..."
This quote really struck me because he implies that there are no words, not tears, and no prayers in slavery. I think that this speaks to any and all difficult situations in life- if there are no words, no tears and no prayers, you often feel helpless, as I imagine Douglass felt while in slavery.
Yes! I think this is one of the many quotes that is trying to show us the extremity of the horror that he was living in,and this qoute really does!
I totally agree. In many situations I have felt helpless, and that is probably one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced.
"Father he might be, and not be husband, and could sell his own child without incurring reproach, if its veins coursed one drop of African Blood."
Were blacks really so despised so that one drop was enough?
They were, at least in the South, despised that much, but not anywhere else, for the hatred of blacks is something defined by the system as right and elsewhere blacks were treated normally. But we will find that as life goes on, the spread of this xenophobic passion and the spread of the determination against it will deepen and this mentality will become the norm in a system increasingly dominated by those of the wealth, race and class that our systems of the past have favored.
I really want to know the answer to your question also. I dislike the fact that possibly some of my ancestors could have caused so much harm to african americans in the past.
It's interesting you mention the phrase "one drop." The one drop rule was a social rule that if someone was even one part African, they were considered black. Even if their skin is not visibly dark, they are still discriminated upon as if they were black.
Book: Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass,an American Slave
"It was considered as being bad enough to be a slave;but to be a poor man's slave was deemed a disgrace indeed!" This part of the book shows that it is human nature to compare one another and to naturally almost form a hierarchical societal way of thinking. The slaves categorized each other based on the advantages of their master, the trust he had in the individual slave and the priviliges the individual slave had. For example,if a slave was allowed to do errands at the Great House Farm, they were considered a favored, trusted and smart slave in the eyes of his/her piers.Why can't humans just look at everyone else like they are just humans and not where they themselves stand in relation to,for example, the man who is walking on the other side of the street? Is it insecurity? Is it jealousy?
I'm surprised by this quote thinking that all slaves regardless of there "Masters" have just as hard of a time. Now that I have thought more upon you're quote, I can only imagine how harsh it must be to be a slave and then to be a slave of someone who can barely afford to feed himself.
I agree with your quote, I cant imagine how much harder it would be for the slave of a family who could barley survive themselves.
I agree it's hard to imagine living in a society like this and some how see no wrong in it.
I agree with these comments as well. It is amazing how unaware the people were and thats what they thought the way of life was.
12 Years a Slave
"This much I deem appropriate and necessary to say, in order that those who read these pages, may comprehend the poignancy of those sufferings I have been doomed to bear."
Even when there we're so many slaves in the south during this time, why would they still come to the north to kidnap free slaves?
Solomon has a great and respectful life as a normal african american and is just considered another person in the north thus far. I can tell just by the way he's already described the harshness of his years to follow from 1834, that even though he's always lived free. Others do not believe he should be free or was even free in the first place.
You have an interesting perspective of this. I really see how people felt that african americans shouldn't be free, and how they were stealing them from the north to eliminate that freedom.
To answer your question, people simply did not care who was free and who was a slave. They kidnapped any colored person they could find and would sell them just to make an extra buck.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Quote: "I never saw my mother, to know her as much, more than four or five times in my life; and each of these times was very short in duration, and at night."
Comment: This quote made me kind of sad because he barely knows his mom, and it got me thinking about what my life would be like without if I barely knew my mom.
Question: Why was he separated from his mother?
He thought he was seperated from his mother because "it be to hinder the development of the child's affection towards its mother, and to blunt and destroy the natural affection of the mother for the child." I agree it would be awful to just have your mother being ripped out of your life at such a young age.
This makes me sad too Adrien. I mean like I don't have much of a connection with my dad and I wonder how my life would be different if I do.
Twelve Years a Slave
Quote: I was too ignorant, perhaps too independent, to conceive how any one could be content to live in the abject condition of a slave. I could not comprehend the justice of that law, or that religion, which upholds or recognizes the principle of Slavery; and never once, I am proud to say, did I fail to counsel any one who came to me, to watch his opportunity, and strike for freedom.
Comment: I thought that Solomon's view on slavery was true. Although I could see how people just accept reality of being a slave and just sticking with it. On the other hand Solomon was not afraid to say what he thought he knew being a slave was not right in any way and knew that if there is a chance of freedom he wold take it. Even though he was raised being a slave you would have thought he was already used to being one, but instead he was the exact opposite and wanted freedom.
Question: "did I fail to counsel any one who came to me, to watch his opportunity, and strike for freedom." When Solomon said this was he telling others to fight for their freedom?
I really like your comment, to your quote. It really shows your understanding to the content and you bring up thought provoking concepts.
12 Years a Slave
"Thought was busy in my brain. Could it be possible that I was thousands miles from home- that I had been driven through the streets like a dumb beast-that I had been chained and beaten without mercy-that I was even then herded with a drove of slaves, a slave myself?"
I think that this quote from what I have read so far, almost summarizes the entire book. Solomon is in disbelief that he would be captured and sold into slavery, while he was accustomed to being a respected African American who lived in the north. I don't know what it would be like to testify that you are a free man, but can't prove anything because of you papers. I would imagine that it would be frustrating and painful, which are both feelings Solomon has conveyed through the story so far.
What ultimately happens to Solomon's family while he is gone, and do they attempt to find him?
Quote: “Had he been a man of pure morals himself, he might have been thought interested in protecting the innocence of my aunt; but those who knew him will not suspect him of any such virtue.”
Comment: I thought it was so strange how angry he became with her, I felt it was fueled by jealousy and hatred for her. As the quote states he should have been protecting her but instead he punished her and whipped her. I think this was the first moment Frederick was shown prejudiced on that scale. I also find it horrifying that this actually happened.
Question: What makes these slave owners feel they have the right to own another human being?
Piper- I think that the slave owners feel they have the right to own humans due to social stratification. They think they are intrinsically superior to blacks. Simply racist. But I'm going to pose a question in response to your question: Why weren't blacks for example, "superior" to whites? Why isn't it flipped?
I agree, the way the story is told is very brutal and scarring. The fact that its all being told by a child makes it worse.
I agree that its horrific told from a childs point of view.
Quote: “In winter seasons I relied upon my violin, though during the construction of the Troy and Saratoga railroad, I performed many hard days’ labor upon it.”
Comment: It surprised me that he had to relay on his violin during the winter. Its interesting to see how much our world has changed from then. I think its so fascinating to see how it was back then during the rough times.
Question: He says specifically the winter were there not jobs year round?
Mikey- I think when he is saying the winter seasons, he is meaning that specifically in the winter parts of the year he relied on his violin to get him money since there was little agricultural work in the winter.
"But no good angel of pity came to my bedside, bidding me to fly-no voice of mercy forewarned me in my dreams of the trials that were just at hand."
It is a strange thing not knowing what is going to happen tomorrow. For him it was WAY worse than whatever we go through day to day. I personally don't usually think/imagine that some great big change is going to happen tomorrow. but when something does happen the reaction is usually "i did not see that coming."
What would you do if you had a warning that something was going to happen? Would you try to change it or just let it happen?
Depending on the circumstances, I may or may not change the fate.
Book: 12 Years a Slave
Quote: "Their presence was my delight; and I clasped them to my bosom with as warm and tender love as if their clouded skins had been as white as snow."
Commentary: I think this quote is so incredibly meaningful. It really shows you the social stratification that existed at the time. The fact that a black man was describing his love for his own children as if they were white really saddens me. I don't think that Solomon Northrup is saying that he would love them more if they were white, but is instead saying that being white is as much love as can be given e.g., the "highest level" of love available. This is very interesting that he explains his love for his children this way, because it really makes an impact on the reader. I feel that if he said something like, "I loved my children with the love only a father could feel," that it would still be very strong and meaningful, but nowhere near as deep as what he wrote.
Question: Do you agree with me that this quote really relays the obvious social stratification that existed?
I liked your quote because I am not reading that book but your comments gave me a good insight on the character.
Yes, I do agree. I strongly believe that Solomon would not use the "white as snow" simile after his enslavement.
Qoute: " I could not comprehend the justice of that law, or that religion, which upholds or reconizes the prinicple of slavery; and never once, I am proud to say, did I fail to counsel any one who came to me, to watch his oppurtunity, and strike for freedom."
Comment: I really like this quote because I understand it. I could never understand any type of person, no matter who they are to own/have a slave in their home. It's just horrible to think about. They are not your property and they are not yours to sell.
Question: It says in the book he would meet these slaves and they tell him how badly they want to escape, but the consequence is not worth it. Why doesn't he tell somebody about this? Couldn't he save them?
Who would he tell? How could he save them?
Quote- "The white children could tell their ages. I could not tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege. I was not allowed to make any inquiries of my master concerning it." pg 1
Comment-In the fist page of the book a quote already struck me, this quote was About Frederick explaining that he didn't know when his birthday was and he couldn't recall any slave that ever knew their own birthday. As a child he then asked himself why he is deprived of these privileges. I couldn't imagine a kid growing up in these conditions. It must of seemed normal back then, but in modern times its horrible to think of it.
Question- How could us humans convince ourselves that slaves and the treatment of them was so normal and nothing was wrong about it?
Book: 12 Years a Slave
"The thought of Randall and little Emmy sinking down among the monsters of the deep, is a more pleasant contemplation than to think of them as they are now, perhaps, dragging out lives of unrequited toil."
This quote reminds me of our Howard Zinn reading, when he said that African slaves were not docile and submissive. They would rebel when the opportunity presented itself, but also attempt to commit suicide. They believed that death was a more favorable option than enslavement. As Solomon is thinking back on the children, I can imagine him thinking about the lives they might have lived. They would have spent their days working as a machine or animal. Solomon brings up the point that their work would have been unrequited. The children would have devoted their existence to a work that was never realized or accepted. Looking back, after his own experience, Solomon was thinking about the pain and futility that they all would have been saved from, if the ocean had been but a bit wilder.
Does Solomon's family ever know what happened to him, or do they think he left them?
Book: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
Quote: "'I am going away to the Great House Farm! O, yea! O, yea! O!' This they would sing as a chorus, to words which to many would seem unmeaningly jargon, but which, nevertheless, were full of meaning to themselves. I have sometimes thought that the mere hearing of those songs would do more to impress some minds with the horrible character of slavery, than the reading of whole volumes of philosophy on the subject could do." (25-26)
Comment: I personally thought that almost every slave is unhappy, I would be if I was a slave so it really caught my interest that they can be happy with what is happening. Being sent off somewhere else is something I would not be too happy about. I find it inspirational how they have such high hopes for themselves. It makes me want to look at everything in a positive, hopeful way.
Question: I wonder why this place is making people happy, what is so special about it?
Yes, I also thought that as well! Even though they don't have that much to be happy about, its usually the little things that can make their day.
Quote: "All his brutal blows could not force from my lips the foul lie that I was a slave."
---I chose this quote becuase it struck me. It kind of brought the story together because I was unsure what was going to happen, then I came across this quote and it all made more sense to me.
When or how does solomons family find out what has happened to him?
Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass
"The white children could tell their ages. I could not tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege."
It's odd to think about not even knowing your age. It seems like such a simple thing, yet even that was taken away. Fredrick goes on to say that he didn't know any other slave child who could tell their birthday either. It is kind of incredible the lengths taken to keep people, whose only difference is color, completely ignorant. Despite that, slaves were still people and they could still tell that what was happening was not right.
What kind of threat does a child knowing they're 12 years old really pose?
in response to your question- I think that it was believed that that kind of stuff was irrelevant if your only purpose was to serve someone else and work.
"Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass"
• Quote - "The white children could tell their ages. I could not tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege."
• Comment - When we hear comments from children we all know one thing, that they're usually telling the truth. Its usually humorous to hear a child question or tell they're parent that they're "fat" or "ugly" because of their innocence and plain curiosity. But this was different, when I read this, it made me realize how it took the mind of a child to open my mind to things that people don't normally look at. I've never read about slavery from a child's perspective, and it makes everything that happened back them seem 10X worse. It shows the irrationality of slavery and how it doesn't make sense when he compares himself to the white kids and his potential siblings.
• Question (sort of..) - There are clearly different types of slave owners ranging in brutality and compassion; i would like to know the difference and perspectives between each of the kind.
I know what you mean, we don't often think about what slavery looked like through their eyes. Imagine those that were just born into it and just understood it as the "way it is", without knowing anything different, but still wanting to be free.
“Now had I approached within the shadow of the cloud, into the thick darkness whereof I was soon to disappear, thence-forward to be hidden from the eyes of all my kindred, and shut out from the sweet light of liberty, for many a weary year.” (12 Years a Slave, page 11)
Solomon Northup eloquently tells about his miserable fate. He is not just trapped in a dark thundercloud, but entering into a 12 year tornado. He will no longer have freedom or family/friends. Because 12 Years a Slave is an autobiography, I believe Solomon Northup used his knowledge of freedom to fight for his newborn freedom. I cannot imagine the agony Solomon experienced.
Question- I would like to know how many black folks born free were later enslaved and of those enslaved, how many survived?
Many free people were captured and sold, i'm sure many died because they were not used to the conditions that they had to face.
"It required extraordinary barbarity on the part of an overseer to affect him."
This is an excerpt from 12 years a slave. I think that it means a lot and has much significance to the story because maybe it will go deeper into the moral conflict that the slave overseer has with himself. There are other parts of the passage that cater to the fact that the slave overseer views discipline as a normal part of slave ownership.
A question that i have is why the slaves aren't allowed or told their age?
For your question I believe that they are trying to get rid of what past they. They are basically trying to get rid of who they were so that they can lose hope and stripped from that they will easily succumb to slavery. For example, Solomon dreams of returning to this family, and that his motive for escaping. Once he stripped from that and forgets, he will have no motive to escape.
Book: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
"...and that the free colored population of the United States are as ably represented by one of their own number, in the person of CHARLES LENOX REMOND"
This quote stood out to me because it was a pretty powerful statement. That at the time, out of all the colored people that were free, this one person could represent all of them. Maybe that isn't saying much though, because the free colored population was probably not that big of a number, but who knows!
I wonder if this book is going to go deeper into all the people that it has mentioned already. They all seem really interesting!
“They do not deny that the slaves are held as property; but that terrible fact seems to convey to their minds no idea of injustice, exposure to outrage, or savage barbarity.” This quote essentially sums up why slavery existed for so long. People who believed himself superior, slaveholders, had no empathy towards Slaves. They did not deny that they were treating these people horribly, they just convinced themselves that there was no injustice in what they were doing. By doing this they felt no wrongdoing and had no reason to stop slavery or to treat their slaves better. This makes you wonder what would slavery have been like if slaveholders saw injustice in having people as property, but they did not see slaves as property?
12 Years A Slave
Quote: It could not be that a free citizen of New-York, who had wronged no man, nor violated any law, should be dealt with thus inhumanly."
I really felt that this spoke out to me, because throughout history some of the most innocent people have been wrongfully sinned. Some of them killed while they were still young. Yet, there are so many people who are bent on taking an easy way or making an easy buck, that they have become blind to their own human nature. I also feel that the general air of this quote has been wronged by Hollywood, usually people who lose everything, learn a bigger and better lesson.
My question is how can only the most innocent be targeted first?
Here's my best answer: the innocent are not prepared. They often don't understand, and are not ready for the terrible things. Innocence is ignorance.
Book: The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Quote: "No words, no tears, no prayers, from his gory victim, seemed to move his iron heart from its bloody purpose."
Comment: This quote really stuck out to me because of how callous the slave owner was. He would whip people mercilessly and was only more aggravated by any pleas or expressions of pain. The section where he talked about the first time seeing someone whipped really hit me too. He was so young and absolutely terrified, it's unbelievable that all this happened only about 200 years ago. He also talked about how he didn't know his birthday and din't understand that as a child, either. I can't imagine how children born into slavery could ever handle that life. They were ripped from their mothers and that breaks my heart. I can't imagine being the mother either and never being able to see your child. It was incredible, though, that his mother would walk all that way to see Frederick in the middle of the night after working so hard all day and having to work again the next.
Question: Where is this set, and what type of plantation is it?
It is set in Maryland. :)
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Quote: "Never having enjoyed, to any considerable extent, her soothing presence, her tender and watchful care, I received the tidings of [my mother’s] death with much the same emotions I should have probably felt at the death of a stranger."
Comment: This quote was really astonishing in every way. In this quote it really explains how the slave masters separate children from their mothers during birth. That pretty much says that Douglass really had no inner-relation sense to his personal history which is extremely sad. During his mothers pass me mentions how he wasn't affected at all since they rarely had that strong mother/son relationship. Douglass overall was a very unique slave since he was able to obtain the ability to write and read. A great example is in this quote when he mentions "soothing presence, her tender and watchful care" its like he's re-creating his childhood memory if he were to know that his mother was present at most times.
Question: What do you think would happen if the slave-owners didn't separate Douglass from his mother? Do you think its for the better since he didn't have a strong sense of his personal history?
I think it is better he was separated because he wasn't able to form a bond with her. So when she died it meant almost nothing to him. Therefore he didn't have to deal with the pain of death.
I totally agree with you, I couldn't imagine how I would feel if I were not able to see my own mother everyday.
Quote: "the consciousness of my lowly state, indulged in pleasant dreams of a good time coming"
Comment: This quote stuck out to me because I didn't quit ascertain the meaning of it. When he says "lowly" does it mean in a bad place as in sad, depressed, or does he mean he is poor and has dreams he can't reach. To mean it meant he new he wasn't finding a job very easily and just hoped for the best in the future.
Question: What is he trying to say?
The Narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglass
"It was all new to me. I had never seen any thing like it before."
This part of the book was really horrifying, the fact that Fredrick was witnessing his own aunt getting whipped and constantly bleeding was pretty gnarly. Fredrick was pretty young too, when he saw this happen, I cant even imagine how I would react if I were in his postition. I wonder what Fredrick would encounter next?
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
"He whipped, but seemed to take no pleasure in it. He was called by the slaves a good overseer."
If a man who still whips the slaves and treats them so terribly is called a "good overseer" you can only imagine what the previous ones were like. The slaves are so used to it that even someone who is just as bad is seen as better. It's sickening to think how normal it was and how much the book talks about the graphic beating of the slaves on a regular basis, and a lot of them have grown up knowing only that. Watching it happen to others and themselves.
Even though he doesn't seem to take pleasure in whipping the slaves, does that really make a difference/any better of a person?
I believe that he is some what being peer pressured. Most of us get peer pressured to do something that we have negatives thoughts towards. In this case the "good overseer" is different because you can distinguish that he has a different view on slavery but can really do nothing as he has to be seen as the superior person. This leads to hope as there can be different people that are like him, which can lead to change. Boom.
"I at once accepted the tempting offer, both for the reward it promised and from a desire to visit the metropolis. They were anxious to leave immediately. Thinking my absence would be brief, I did not deem it necessary to write to Anne whither I had gone..." -Twelve Years a Slave, page 6
Why are you so eager and trusting, Mr. Narrator? You are driving away with two white men that you met at a bar, without telling even your wife?!?
My personal bewilderment at the story so far is probably evident. It is so beyond what I understand of the world for people to be so trusting. Not only did they tell him that they were literally part of a circus, they told him they would give him a very large amount of money if they only came back to the south to rejoin their circus. At this point I am no longer on the narrator's side- his thought process is unrelatable to me.
Question: What is a frock coat?
" Awakening from the pleasant phantasms of sleep to the bitter realities around me"-Solomon (The Rapper)
All jokes aside, this quote was really deep. As we know Solomon has been kidnapped and was rid of his liberty. For anyone, during a hardship we often look for an escape from reality. To Solomon, his escape is his dream. He dreams of being united with his family and friends as well as his home. He dreams of a dream that seems to have the same features as a phantom. It is there but not able to be grasped. Once awakened, his surroundings are that of despair and sorrow. Unaware of what the future holds for him, he dreams.
Question: Are they in the same building before his capture? Also, did Eliza by will,come to his son or by force?
I think that she came to be with his son, she wants to reside with him and her daughter because it might be their last.
"By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant."
Although this quote is taken literally from the first page I feel as though it tell us how Africans were treated. At this time Slave owners were determined to break their slaves, and one way to do this was to completely erase their birth dates.After hearing the reasoning behind these actions I honestly wonder if something similar to this could happen in the future.
"She called them her darlings-her sweet babes-poor innocent things, that knew not of the misery they were destined to endure"
So I chose this quote because it showed true love. The mother knew of what may lie for her kids, and it pains her. Sad by what may happens she spends her time calling her kids by sweet names. Reminding them what they are to her. There is a sense of love but behind that love there is sadness.
My question is, how strong was family at the time regardless of separation.
Book: The Narrative of life of Frederick Douglass
Quote:The white children could tell their ages. I could not tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege.
Comment:Begining of the book made a strong impression for me. It is very sad how the slaves were treated by their masters. They did not know their age. That thought was on my mind in the following parts of the book. From the begining I knew this book is very good and educative. I think it is good to know something about particular slave's life.
Question:"Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy. The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart.." is that jazz and blues?
Those music styles actually come later. :)
During this time, I learned to read and write, in accomplishing this, I was compelled to various stratagems
“...No words, no tears, no prayers..."
I picked this quote sadly because it really shows how pretty much nothing could help you through slavery. The words you used didn't matter, your prayers went unanswered and the tears were just a waste of emotional energy. Fredrick is trying to say that when you were a slave you were completely helpless, you had no power over what happened to you, no matter what you did. There was nothing you can do. It really shows how grim slavery was when you were the victim.
Question: How did slaves deal with their day to day lives when nothing they did helped with their pain?
“The white children could tell their ages. I could not tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege.”
I find it abhorrent that, of all the things slaves were restricted from doing, they were’t even allowed to know their birthday! This was just another tactic by the slaveowners to further dehumanize the slaves and to take away just one more part of their identity.
How old would a slave typically live to?
Quote: "He would whip her to make her scream, and whip her to make her hush; and not until overcome by fatigue, would he cease to swing the blood-clotted cowskin."
Comment: The first chapter of this book explains how he was born into slavery and how the slaves are treated. This quote is of what he witnessed of what his aunt's master would do to her. He witnessed a man doing this to his aunt when he was very young and he grew up to have it done to him. This was thought of as normal or right. Through out the first chapter he shows just how little people thought of these people. It is baffling to think that he had to see those things done to his aunt and that was viewed as okay, that that was the norm.
Question: As I read about what would happen to his aunt I wondered how often this would happen and if he only witnessed it the once? (Although I imagine we will learn more about how often it occurred as he describes his life with his master.)
"During this time, I succeeded in learning to read and write, in accomplishing this I was compelled to various stratagems." I am not sure if this qoute has been used before but this speaks to me just because he had at least something to take his mind off of the fact he was helpless and kept going even when it got tough.
My question is what tools helped him learn to read and write? There was no formal teacher so he must have been very intelligent
"I know not but they were innocent of the great wickedness of which i now believe them guilty."
I felt so bad for Solomon because he trusted his "friends so much". He felt like he could of trusted them with so much,yet they betrayed him. Its sad what people would do for money.
Question: why would he have so much trust two people that he just met?
The best part so far or the part that hit me the most was in chapter one the narrative part . When the narrator said "They started a family, and Northup set about living a life filled with “nothing but the common hopes, and loves, and labors of an obscure colored man, making his humble progress in the world.” This confused me because a colored man at this time could not have such a life but some did and it's almost a privilege. It's also stunning how that was a privilege at one point I think all humans should have that ability to progress the world.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.