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Frederick Douglass was an emancipated slave who passed from one master to another until he finally found the satisfaction of being his own He went through almost as many names as masters His mothers family name traceable at least as far back as 1701 was Bailey the name he bore until his flight to freedom in 1838 His father may have been a white man named Anthony but Douglass never firmly validated or rejected this possibility During transit to New York where he became a free his name became Stanley and upon arrival he changed it again to Johnson In New Bedford where there were too many Johnsons he found it necessary to change it once more and his final choice was Douglass Throughout this period he clung to his name Frederick to preserve a sense of his identity Norton 1988 This succession of names is illustrative of the transformation undergone by one returning from the world of the dead which in a sense is what the move from oppression to liberty is Frederick Douglass not only underwent a transformation but being intelligent and endowed with the gift of Voice he brought back with him a sharp perspective on the blights of racism and slavery Dropped into America during the heat of the reformation period as he was his appearance on the scene of debate and his own self-emancipation was a valuable blessing for the abolitionists In their struggles so far there had been many skilled arguers but few who could so convincingly portray the evils of slavery an act that seemed to demand little firsthand experience but which also required a clear understanding of it Douglass had both and proved himself an incredibly powerful weapon for reform The life of a slave was full of hard times along with sadness Slaves were bought and sold at random There slaveholders consistently whipped them were they had
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