To be an educated black or colored man was rare in the 1800’s, so rare it could cost a black man his life. For Douglass to become an abolitionist was truly amazing seeing that the odds were not in his favor. Douglass put his life in danger many times and face many obstacles to become the educated man he was. With the help of Abraham Lincoln, Douglass helped in the writing of the Emancipation Proclamation to free and abolish slavery in all America.
In the autobiography My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass, he shows that education incarcerates him by limiting him to learn more, keeping quiet about what he knows, and that his knowledge could have devastating consequences. To Begin with, Douglass Knows that being a colored man would limit him to further continue his education. Douglass says “If I remained in a separate room from the family for any considerable length of time, I was sure to be suspected of having a book and was at once called upon to give an account of myself.
Douglass knew that it would be dangerous to have such knowledge of a white man and be able to read or write at his age especially being a slave. Being born into slavery, Douglass knew and understood that he was never supposed to be given the ability or the right to be able to read or write in his life. The autobiography tells that Ms. Auld once being told by her husband to stop educating Douglass made sure that Douglass got the message.
Horn explains it in by saying “When Hugh Auld discovers that his wife, Sophia, is teaching Douglass to read, he insist that she stop immediately, ‘for [a slave] should know nothing but the will of his master, ‘and literacy ‘would forever unfit him from the duties of a slave. ” (Horn). Mrs. Auld in her Kindness started educating Douglass until she was rebuked by her husband to stop at once because Douglass wasn’t considered a human to be educated.
Even if Douglass was a child, he was still a slave and wasn’t supposed to be educated or taught how to do anything but do the works of a slave. Although many things limited Douglass to learning more, he always found some way to do it. In addition, Douglass knows that he would have to be very precautious about who knew that he had the ability to read and write. Douglass himself states “when the conviction was thoroughly established, I was most narrowly watched in all of my movements” (499). Once Mrs.
Auld regretted seeing Douglass able to read and write, she never kept her eyes off of him. Mrs. Auld and Douglass both knew that they could get into more trouble for having a “colored” child who could read and write. Horn states that “such skills, He reasoned, would make Frederick ‘unfit … to be a slave. ‘ But Frederick was determined to have an education and he convinced the neighborhood children to help him learn” (Horn). Although Douglass was very quiet about what he knows, he still wanted to keep learning and improving his skills in reading and writing.
As a child he was determined to keep learning no matter what was at stake. Even if it would cost Douglass his life, he would keep learning something till the day he would die. Furthermore, no matter what the cost would be, or what obstacles came to Douglass, his greatest desire was to go beyond his limits and succeed over all. Douglass himself says in his autobiography, “seized with a determination to learn to read, at any cost, I hit upon many expedients to accomplish the desired end” (500).
Although he was a slave, he always found a way to keep learning without letting anyone know. Douglass found many means to keep learning and also keep quiet about how he was doing it. Horn speaking about Douglass says, “In order to attain literacy, Douglass is compelled to resort to indirections’ such as exchanging bread for reading lessons from hungry white children in the streets of Baltimore” (Horn). Douglass was so determined that he probably spent many restless nights learning to read and write, whether sick or in health he kept going.
Douglass knew that exchanging bread with the white children of Baltimore would be worth it because he knew that his education has no price. Douglass knows that his education could cost him his life, but still learned even when the society he lived in, didn’t want him to learn. In conclusion, Frederick Douglass shows that his education incarcerates him by limiting him to learn more, keeping quiet about what he knows, and that his knowledge could have devastating consequences in his autobiography, From My Bondage and My Freedom.
Seeing how times were during Douglass’s Life lets many understand that receiving an education shouldn’t be taken for granted. Douglass gives a great example in his autobiography From My Bondage and My Freedom of how a person should strive and fight to keep their education. Breaking the law for Douglass is what got him to where he wanted to be. Douglass shows in his autobiography that Education should mean everything in a person’s life, you never know what doors it will open.