"Memory was given to man for some wise purpose. The past is the mirror in which we may discern the dim outlines of the future and by which we may make them more symmetrical."(1) These are profound words from a man who lived through one of the darkest and most embarrassing periods in American History. The trials and tribulations the African Americans endured during slavery are unbelievable. Fredrick Douglass escaped this horrible life and went on to become one of the most well known abolitionists in history. He wrote extensively on the topic of slavery, and on the pain and suffering it caused. In the book Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, he relays the message, to the entire country, about how horrible and degrading this actually was. .
He begins his story, by telling the background of his family. He explains that he has no records of the exact date of his birth, but he estimates that he was between twenty-seven and twenty-eight years of age when he penned this book. He figures this on account of hearing his master say, "Sometime during 1835, I was about seventeen years old."(41) He explains that his mothers name was Harriet Bailey. All he ever knew about his father was that he was white, and it was often rumored that his master, Aaron Anthony, was fathered Douglass himself. His mother died when Douglass was about seven years old and he saw he death just as if she was a stranger because they rarely saw one another. .
He then begins to tell of the tragic events he witnessed on the plantation. The plantation was known as the Great House Farm. He describes the first time he ever witnessed a beating. It was his own Aunt Hester whom the master found out of bed one night with a man. Douglass describes the event as "a most terrible spectacle. One he wishes he could commit to paper the feelings with which he beheld it."(45) .
Douglass describes another occasion where the farm overseer, Mr.