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The Power of Reading and Writing

            The power of reading and writing is immeasurable. Its power is the knowledge and ability to gain access to new knowledge and points of view. For example, Slaves were forbidden to read and write and thus lost the power to be individuals and remained thoughtless pieces of property. This was the point; to keep slaves less than human. Today reading and writing are still powerful elements of the world. They shift the world and cause the tides of our society to churn and turn.
             A slave was mainly seen as chattel. Their owners did not see them as anything more than that, a simple piece of property. Slaves were stripped of any rights affiliated with being free men. The slave owners wanted to make them as easy to manipulate as possible. This was only possible if the slaves were prohibited from any form of reading and writing, making them reliant on their owners. Stopping slaves from reading and writing was a law. There was a reason for this. The whites were "fearing that black literacy would prove a threat to the slave system – which relied on slaves' dependence on masters – whites in many colonies instituted laws forbidding slaves to learn to read or write making it a crime for others to teach them" (Goodell 1). Without reading and writing, slaves were at an ultimate disadvantage. If an individual cannot read and write, he/she is automatically perceived to be at a lower class than any other individual with even a slight education in literacy skills. Imagine the struggle of having to be illiterate and a slave. That was considered to be the lowest social class an individual could have been a part of during that time period. These slaves had no other choice though. The mere thought of a rebellious act could cost them their lives. .
             Although very dangerous, some courageous slaves made the very risky decision of breaking the law by learning how to read or write. In order to make this possible, a slave would have to illegally obtain books and/or find or bribe any individual who could teach him/her these skills, which also put the suppliers in danger.

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