I know Mondays are generally reserved for women’s memoirs but I’m prepared to make a special exception, particularly for men like Frederick Douglass who were such a huge part of destroying toxic systems. Today it seems like common sense that slavery was a horrible institution of which no good follower of Christ could possibly participate in but that was clearly not always the case.
Ok, well, I’d agree with Douglass that though there may have been plenty of slave owners who called themselves by that name, it’s hard to believe someone could really understand what it means and participate in a system that routinely oppressed and abused the poor and the orphans and the widows. The idea that people will use any means to justify their horrible acts isn’t limited to Christianity nor slavery, and unfortunately not even eras gone by.
I knew coming into the narrative that it would be terrible. Its a book reputed even now to have a played a major role in ending slavery, so there was no way that it was a book that would call entertaining. It doesn’t entertain. It informs the reader of the harsh realities of being a slave without signs of embellishments. That said, there was a lot to truly appreciate about Douglass sharing his story and the way in which he did so. Douglass didn’t simply share the events of his life but took time fully explaining the surrounding events that contributed to his thoughts and feelings about the situations that he was presented.
As an example of what I mean, he not only talks about each of the employers his owner sent him to work for as a slave, but also discussed at length the differences between them and the way these differences played out in the treatment of slaves as well as the general slave response to them. He also explains the treatments that he was given with both his assumptions about what his owner or employer was attempting to get from and what he actually got from the experience. This level of awareness seems rare these days.
I had gotten the audiobook from the library, which was a short four hour listen. As usual, the book is also available for purchase from several outlets. Click on the cover for places it is available from Booklikes or here for Goodreads.