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Slavery of Fredrick Douglass

Slavery

It was the blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery, It was all new to me. I had seen nothing like it before.

I saw the bloody scenes that often occurred on the plantation of which I was doomed to be a witness and a participant.

With those songs of slavery their efforts of dehumanizing us was where they took their [the masters] pleasure. I  was so terrified and horror stricken that I hid.

I sung to drown my sorrow, they sung to express their happiness. By a hand more unrelenting than death, masters enjoyed the luxury of whipping the servants when they pleased.

Their horrid crime was not even submitted to judicial investigation.  It was committed in the presence of slaves, and they of course could neither institute a suit, nor testify against him.

I wish I could describe the rapture that flashed through my soul when I left Colonel Lloyd’s plantation. It was a new and strange sight for me, brightening up my pathway with the light of happiness.

This kind heart had but a short time to remain such. I envied my fellow slaves for their stupidity. I often wished myself to succeeded in learning how to write.

I can say, I never loved any or confided in any people more than my fellow slaves. The thought of leaving my friends was decidedly the most painful thought with which I had to contend.

I love the pure, peaceable, and  impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slave-holding, women whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.
I Sincerely and earnestly hoping that this little book may do something toward throwing light on the American slave system. How I escaped it I do not know.

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Posted by on October 6, 2015 in Douglass poem

 

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An American Slave

 

The entrance to the hell of slavery, through which I was about to pass

I have often been awakened by the most heart-rending shrieks

 

He would whip her to make her scream, and whip her to make her hush

She now stood fair for his infernal purpose

I was so terrified and horror stricken at the sight

 

My first glimmering conception of the dehumanizing character of slavery

Songs still follow me, to deepen my hatred of slavery

The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of my heart

 

The luxury of whipping the servants when they pleased

Frequently whipped when least deserving and escaped whipping when most deserving it

A hand more unrelenting than death

 

Killing a slave is not treated as a crime

This horrid crime was not even submitted to judicial investigation

 

I saw what I had never seen before

A white face beaming with the most kindly

emotions

Hope of reward

 

I most desired to learn how to read

At whatever cost of trouble

 

I set out with high hope

I succeeded in learning to read and write

 

I suffered more anxiety than most of my fellow slaves

Learning to read has been a curse rather than a blessing

I envied my fellow slaves for their stupidity

 

I regret that I had not attempted to carry out my resolution to run away

I wished I could be free

 

My desire to be free increased

I set to thinking of plans to gain my freedom

 

I planned and finally succeeded in making, my escape from slavery

The blessedness of freedom

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2015 in Douglass poem

 

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The Wretchedness of Slavery, the Blessedness of Freedom

A hand more unrelenting than death

Dehumanizing character

Heartrending shrieks

A bloodstained gate,

The entrance to Hell

The meanest and most wicked of men

I loathed them

A new and mysterious revelation

I could be as free as they could

A horrid crime, hope and fear

I meant to persist in my resistance

An enemy of both the slave holder

And the hypocritical Christianity

Of this land

I succeeded

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2015 in Douglass poem

 

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Frederick Douglass: Haiku Story

Hell of slavery,

entrance was the bloodstained gate,

was about to pass

 

Seen nothing like it,

terrified, horror stricken,

doomed to be witness

 

Dehumanizing,

no beds given, prayer to god,

sorrows of his heart

 

Still tongue makes wise head,

more unrelenting than death

penalty of truth

 

Not treated as crime,

the bloodiest and most foul,

unwhipped of justice

 

Opened the gateway,

happiest days I enjoyed

brightening pathway

 

Understood pathway,

slavery to freedom, a

new revelation

 

To learn how to read,

high hope, and a fixed purpose,

whatever trouble

 

Find friends to the north,

bear heavily on my heart,

wished myself a beast

 

Blessing rather curse,

in learning to read and write,

I writhed under it

 

Overborne sadness,

soul full of apprehension,

deep anxiety

Made the change gladly,

reached point when I can give dates,

sure enough to eat

 

By force, fear, or fraud,

a number of differences,

cruel but cowardly

 

My fellow slaves,

noble souls, loving hearts, brave,

loved or confided

 

Transformed into brute,

persist with my resistance,

the bitterest dregs

 

Succeeded escape,

feel a degree of safety,

a life of freedom

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2015 in Douglass poem

 

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A Life of Slavery

It was all new to me.

I had seen nothing like it before.

He would whip her and make her scream,

and whip her to make her hush.

Only until he was overcome by fatigue would he cease

to swing the blood-clotted cowskin.

He would tie a lame women up.

Whipping her until warm red blood dripped from her shoulders.

It was all new to me.

I had seen nothing like it before.

In justification of this bloody deed he would quote Scriptures.

Here was a recently-converted man turning out a helpless child.

The slaveholding religion of this land,

has no possible reference to the proper Christianity.

Sincerely and earnestly hoping that this may do something

toward throwing light on the American slave system.

The slave auctioneer’s bell and

the church-going bell chime in with each other;

And the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are

drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master.

It is all new to me.

I have seen nothing like it before.

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2015 in Douglass poem

 

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Frederick Douglass

The motto which I adopted when I started from slavery was this ‘Trust no man!’ I saw in every white man an enemy

 

When he spoke, a slave must stand, listen, and tremble; and such was literally the case

 

He was immediately chained and handcuffed; and thus, without a moment’s warning, he was snatched away and forever sundered from his family and friends, by a hand more unrelenting than death

 

This is the penalty of telling the truth, of telling the simple truth

 

I have been frequently asked, when a slave, if I had a kind master, and do not remember ever to have given a negative answer

 

Killing a slave, in Talbot County, Maryland, is not treated as a crime

 

 Horrid crime was not even submitted to judicial investigation

 

I am detailing bloody deeds which took place during my stay on Colonel Lloyd’s plantation

 

I wished I could be as free as they could be when they got to be men

 

I should be free

 

Here I saw what I had never seen before; […] a white face beaming with the most kindly

emotions

 

It was a new and strange sight for me, brightening up my pathway with the light of happiness

 

I suffered more anxiety than most of my fellow slaves.

 

I finally succeeded in learning how to write

 

I now come to that part in my life during which I planned, and finally succeeded in making, my escape from slavery

 

I love the pure, peaceable, and  impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land

 

Sincerely and earnestly hoping that this little book may do something toward throwing light on the American slave system
How I escaped death, I do not know

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2015 in Douglass poem

 

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