Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (Paperback)

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CHAPTER II was born in Tuckahoe, near Hillsborough, and about twelve miles fromEaston, in Talbot county, Maryland. I have no accurate knowledge of myage, never having seen any authentic record containing it. By far thelarger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know oftheirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keeptheir slaves thus ignorant. I do not remember to have ever met a slavewho could tell of his birthday. They seldom come nearer to it thanplanting-time, harvest-time, cherry-time, spring-time, or fall-time. Awant of information concerning my own was a source of unhappiness to meeven during childhood. The white children could tell their ages. I couldnot tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege. I was notallowed to make any inquiries of my master concerning it. He deemedall such inquiries on the part of a slave improper and impertinent, andevidence of a restless spirit. The nearest estimate I can give makes menow between twenty-seven and twenty-eight years of age. I come to this, from hearing my master say, some time during 1835, I was about seventeenyears old.My mother was named Harriet Bailey. She was the daughter of Isaac andBetsey Bailey, both colored, and quite dark. My mother was of a darkercomplexion than either my grandmother or grandfather.My father was a white man. He was admitted to be such by all I everheard speak of my parentage. The opinion was also whispered that mymaster was my father; but of the correctness of this opinion, I knownothing; the means of knowing was withheld from me. My mother and I wereseparated when I was but an infant--before I knew her as my mother. It isa common custom, in the part of Maryland from which I ran away, to partchildren from their mothers at a very early age. Frequently, before thechild has reached its twelfth month, its mother is taken from it, andhired out on some farm a considerable distance off, and the child isplaced under the care of an old woman, too old for field labor. Forwhat this separation is done, I do not know, unless it be to hinder thedevelopment of the child's affection toward its mother, and to blunt anddestroy the natural affection of the mother for the child. This is theinevitable result.I never saw my mother, to know her as such, more than four or five timesin my life; and each of these times was very short in duration, and atnight. She was hired by a Mr. Stewart, who lived about twelve miles frommy home. She made her journeys to see me in the night, travelling thewhole distance on foot, after the performance of her day's work. She wasa field hand, and a whipping is the penalty of not being in the field atsunrise, unless a slave has special permission from his or her master tothe contrary--a permission which they seldom get, and one that givesto him that gives it the proud name of being a kind master. I do notrecollect of ever seeing my mother by the light of day. She was with mein the night. She would lie down with me, and get me to sleep, but longbefore I waked she was gone. Very little communication ever took placebetween us. Death soon ended what little we could have while she lived, and with it her hardships and suffering. She died when I was aboutseven years old, on one of my master's farms, near Lee's Mill. I was notallowed to be present during her illness, at her death, or burial. Shewas gone long before I knew any thing about it. Never having enjoyed, toany considerable extent, her soothing presence, her tender and watchfulcare, I received the tidings of her death with much the same emotions Ishould have probably felt at the death of a strange.


Product Details
ISBN: 9781728741901
ISBN-10: 1728741904
Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: October 12th, 2018
Pages: 66
Language: English