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What was life like for Frederick Douglass as a young American slave boy in Maryland?

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nyshyia1 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 25, 2009 at 11:39 AM via web

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What was life like for Frederick Douglass as a young American slave boy in Maryland?

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slchanmo1885 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:09 AM (Answer #1)

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When Frederick was a baby, he was separated from his mother and sold to a different plantation, so his memories of her consist of the times she was able to walk for 12 miles to come visit him for a short time at night. At the plantation where he is a slave, he witnesses many cruelties, one of them being an especially cruel overseer tying up his aunt and whipping her. The slaves have to be very careful about what they say or do, because they can be punished. If a slave stole some fruit, or if they say something disapproving about the Master, then they would be severely punished for it. There is no legal repercussions for hurting or even killing a slave. Frederick lives in fear of this, and also has to live in very poor conditions, never having adequate clothing or food. Eventually, he gets to go live with the Auld family, and the woman is kind to him and begins to teach him to read until her husband finds out and stops her. This is the real beginning of Frederick's quest to learn as much as he can and eventually work his way to freedom.

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