Lesson 3: From Courage to Freedom

Frederick Douglass's 1845 narrative of his life is a profile in both moral and physical courage. In the narrative Douglass openly illustrates and attacks the misuse of Christianity as a defense of slavery. He also reveals the turning point of his life: his spirited physical defense of himself against the blows of a white "slave-breaker."

Guiding Questions

How does Frederick Douglass's skilled use of language paint a convincing portrait of slavery's horrors?

What behaviors and actions did slaveholders use Christianity to justify and how does Douglass effectively point out their hypocrisy?

Learning Objectives

In the process of completing this curriculum unit, students will be able to: Analyze and understand a specific type of historical and literary primary document, the slave narrative/autobiography.

Recognize and explain the use and effectiveness of precise word choice, imagery, irony, and rhetorical appeals.

Learn to look for and contrast instances of reality and romanticized myth by using the slave narrative as a source for historical study.

Explore Douglass' courageous refutation of false arguments used to uphold slavery