Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, Written by Himself

by Frederick Douglass
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In Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, how long did his grandmother care for him?

In Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass's grandmother cared for him from his birth until he was a little less than seven years old.

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In The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass , Douglass writes of being left in the care of his grandmother. She was an old woman who had been relieved of all duties except supporting herself and caring for her young grandchildren. Douglass lived very happily with her in a small...

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In The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, Douglass writes of being left in the care of his grandmother. She was an old woman who had been relieved of all duties except supporting herself and caring for her young grandchildren. Douglass lived very happily with her in a small dirt-floored cabin miles away from the main farm house until he was a bit "less than seven years old." At this point (he was not sure of his age, because as a slave, nobody told him his date of birth), he was sent to live at the master's house with the other slave children.

This change was a deep shock to Douglass, though his grandmother had tried to prepare him for it. Douglass was not fully aware at this point of what it meant to be a slave. He had grown up with kindness and care and was unprepared for the cruelty he would experience and witness as he transitioned to his new stage of life.

Douglass's earliest childhood experience is significant, because as we know from child psychology, the secure and loving bond he established with his grandmother in early life would have given him a sense of self worth and compassion. This fueled his sense that he and his fellow Black people were fully human and deserved more than to be slaves, despite how white people saw them.

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