It just so happened that I had to wait on the kids almost the entire day at co-op and at orchestra rehearsal. That gave me time to read this book, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, in one day – to be precise, in about four hours. The book is only 78 pages long and the plot moves fast.
I knew what to expect – shocking portrayals of slavery during the 19th century. That is why I hesitated before reading it. Violence in a book or a movie never appeals to me. In fact, I avoid it as much as possible. It was hard to read the four or five passages in which Douglass describes horrible acts of violence against African Americans.
In case you did not know, this is only the first of Douglass’s three autobiographies. He felt compelled to write about his time as a slave and then how he escaped and got along for the first few years as a free man. Some of the people who heard his speeches could not believe he was born into slavery. Of course, he had to protect the people who helped him escape, so he skipped over most of those details.
A sobering tale about America’s original sin – slavery – this book will touch you and shock you. We must read about it and teach our children about it so that we do not repeat this dark moment in our nation’s history.