All of these restrictions had the effect of reducing people to the base survival instincts of animals, serving to reinforce concepts that this was all the darker race was capable of achieving. Much of this might not have been understood if it weren’t for some black people acquiring the knowledge forbidden them and sharing it with the world. Frederick Douglass was the first black man to appear on a presidential ticket in America after having lived the first half of his life as a slave. In his autobiography Frederick Douglass: Life of an American Slave, the author reveals the details of his early life and education in such a way that he illustrates both the dehumanizing effects of slavery as well as what how the restrictions against him served to indicate the true attitudes of white people to the concept of black abilities enough to drive him out of the slave mentality.
Although no one knows his exact birthdate, best estimates indicate Frederick Douglass was born in February of 1818. He died on February 20, 1895 after a long life of advocacy and change. His birth name was Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey and he was born in Maryland. “He spent his early years with his grandparents and with an aunt, seeing his mother only four or five times before her death when he was seven” (People and Events, 2008). Maryland was fully a part of the slave states at the time of Douglass’s birth and he witnessed many brutal slave beatings during his first seven years. Even as a very small child, he was often required to endure cold and hunger in his northern home. By the time he was eight years old, he was sent as a slave to Baltimore where he worked for a ship’s carpenter while his wages were sent back to his master. However, it was during this experience that he was given his first introduction to reading and writing and realized that not everyone felt the idea