September 7, 2013 AP Paper “We were all ranked together at the evaluation. Men and women, old and young, married and single, were ranked with horses, sheep, and swine. “-Frederick Douglass (Pig. 27 in The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass). In his memoir The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass distinguished the cruelty that he and most slaves faced at the hands of their masters. Treated no better than animals, Douglass extracted himself from the horrors of slavery and successfully changed his life.
He came a presidential advisor, abolitionist, women’s rights activist, and published author. Yet, in his early years, Douglass and many other slaves were treated no better than or sometimes worse than livestock. As a slave, Douglass experienced cruelty so severe that it demonstrated how slaveholders viewed their slaves. In being treated as animals and given nothing, slaves had nothing to call their own, not even a bed to sleep in at night. As said in Douglass memoir on page six, “There was no bed given to slaves, unless one coarse blanket be considered such, and none but women and men had these.
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With this being said, Douglass refers to what slaves had to sleep on, “And when this is done, old and young, male and female, married and single, drop down side by side one common bed-the cold, damp, floor. ” Not given anything, slaves had no choice but to adapt to these dreadful conditions and without a voice, had to live up to the expectations of being less than humans. With the obvious evidence that slaves are treated inhumanely, the slaveholders during this time period believed that their way of slave treatment was not wrong, and some even treated their slaves more civil than others.
Douglass admitted to this on page twenty-one in his memoir, “A city slave is almost a freeman compared to a slave on a plantation. ” Being a city slave, they had more freedoms and more to eat than a slave on a plantation. But evidence shows that even city slaves were treated as creatures. “The head, neck, and shoulders of Mary were literally cut to pieces. I have frequently felt her head, and found it nearly covered with festering sores, caused by the lash of her cruel mistress. ” (Page twenty-one of The Narrative of Frederick Douglass) Beaten and treated with such disregard, slaves went through a life of users.
Along with Douglass, many other slaves experienced the same mistreatment as he did. Many of them never had the privilege of escaping those terrors, but some luckily did. In the story Copper Sun by Sharon Draper, Draper wrote of a slave by the name of Mari. Having her family murdered by slave traders, and dragged to a ship to be forever separated from her home village, Mari is placed in an act of unimaginable brutality. In her story, Sharon shares on page 159 how Mari felt like an animal, “Again Mari couldn’t understand why Clay acted as if he was proud of her, showing ere off to his friends.
She felt like an animal on display, almost as bad as the day she was sold at the market. ” As Mari is feeling this, she is being forced to tie up another, younger slave boy, Tidbit. Tidbit is then thrown into a river filled with alligators and told to swim or be eaten. Clay, Omar’s master, finds these actions a game and Joyful. This shows the unexplainable, corrupt minds of the slave holders and how they viewed slaves as worthless, live bait, and mules for their pleasure. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Copper Sun were both reorient examples and proof of how slave were treated.
Mari and Douglass were two slaves who reached freedom and escaped the revulsion of slavery and found that hope they longed for as a slave. Douglas went to the top and made his story famous by publishing his memoir, along with becoming an abolitionist, presidential advisor, and women’s right activist, he kept fighting for what he believed in. In publishing his memoir, the lessons of history, and other historical literature, the evidence of slaves being treated brutally and no better than livestock is revealed.