Write a 7 pages paper on douglass : what it was to be a slave in the united states. Douglass illustrates, through the narrative he tells, the meaning of slavery for both the individual and the State. What it was to be a slave in the United States Slave families were always torn apart by their masters. Before babies reached a year old, their mothers were taken away, an action that probably intended to break the affection bond between the mother and the baby. Consequently, many of the slaves grew up not knowing who their real parents were. For Douglass’s case, he never knew his parental side. Moreover, enslaved women were harassed and abused sexually. He is not aware of his birthday, and his mother was separated from him when he was only a year old, yet unfortunately she died when Douglass was seven years and saw her son only three to four times in her life time. He speculates that his father was Anthony Aaron, the master of the plantation that Douglass worked on, since it was usual for slave owners to rape or have affairs with enslaved women in detention. Children born of such affairs could not be told who their real fathers were, and when they grew up, they would join the enslaved population in working on the plantations. This describes the total lack of the sense of self, which characterized the slaves in the American south. Slavery in the US was an intrinsic injustice, bondage in itself, not necessarily how the master inflicted on the slave insofar as clothing, shelter, religion, food, life, and discipline were concerned. The whole system was unjust since the slaves were innocent to deserve all the punishments and brutality. Given inequality of power and human nature, evil treatment of slaves was unavoidable. On the plantation, Douglass witnessed the cruelty of enslavement. He witnessed the first whipping when he was seven years and this left a lasting impression in his mind. He writes, “It was the first of a long sequence of such angers, of which I was fated to be a participant and a witness. It was a blood-stained gate, an entrance to the hell of being a slave, which I was about to pass through (Douglass 62).” Unhealthy low nation regions caused numerous slave deaths especially because of the poor working conditions. All the slaves shared the pain of a life without freedom, though key differences existed between house servants and the lives of field hands. Slaves worked from sunrise to sunset in every facet of farming from planting, weeding, land preparing, the harvest and transportation to the market. Following the harvest, field hand slaves mended faces, repaired tools, dug ditches, and constructed structures needed on the farms. With little clothing, food, or rest to keep them going, this was a hard and grueling life at its best. When slave owners established families, they brought some women slaves into their homes to act as dressmakers, nurses, cooks, and servants. Though less tough physically than fieldwork, working as an enslaved domestic was rigorous and exhausting. Officially on duty from dawn to ten at night, they could be summoned at any hour. All major commercial ventures involved skills, labor, and ingenuity of enslaved Africans. Large plantations like the one where Douglass began work required skilled mechanical workers and field workers. Metalworkers, carpenters, watch smiths, coopers, blacksmiths, grain grinders, sailors, gun makers, cart writers, and weavers were all extracted from black Americans. Slaves were not given any opportunity and especially in education.
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