The White Man’s Position On Slavery

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The White Man’s Position On Slavery

David walker discussed how his travels across the United States have seen him observe things as they are in terms of the degradation and mistreatment of African Americans. He believes that black people are the most degraded, wretched, and abject group in the history of the world. There are accounts of the history of ancient slaves in Egypt, Greece, and the Roman empire, but considering the enlightenment of people in the last couple of centuries, the same practices mean they are worse. The white man has divorced people of color from the human family by subjecting them to misery, degradation, and wretched treatment. White people have treated animals better than they have people of color.

Solomon Northup was born a free African but was later recruited and sold at a slave market and spent 12 years as a slave in Louisiana. Northup became the author of 12 years a slave, where he tells about his time as a slave. In this writing, Northup expresses the reality of slavery, where people got treated as property relatively expensive than livestock. In the book, we have Northup decide to stay on the farm where his enslavement took place and diligently fought to free himself legally from his captors. The inhuman treatment of the slaves led them to escape into woods and swamps (Northup, 1854). For a man to resort to primal behavior that is not in line with the modern standard of the time, one has to be either crazy or too resistant to go back and face the harsh life.

Fredrick Douglass was a man who exemplified that all men could be equal regardless of color. He got raised as a slave, but his mistress gave him an education in secret. Sophia taught him how to read and took care of him with dignity. He did not get treated as if he did not matter when he was in her presence. The narrative changed later on under the influence of his master, the husband of Sophia. She embraced his racist views and accepted that slavery and education could never go hand in hand. Sophia later discouraged any form of reading by taking away any reading material, but it never deterred Douglass. The notion that white men people of all kinds were inclined to complete disregard of the black man did not apply in his case. Douglass learned to read in part by the white kids ( Douglass, 1845). Racism, as was seen in the situation of Douglass, did not get a straight ticket from white men. Racism and undermining of Douglass intentionally got taught to white people.

Harriet Jacobs is another example of a person of color who had a chance to elaborate on the inhuman treatment of the black man. The first thing used against her was her color, and the second one was her gender. Her slave master sexually harassed her and dared to threaten her that he will sell her children (Jacobs, 1861). She was able to escape, but the struggle never ended for her. Like Douglass, she learned how to read and write, but it was against the law of the time. Emancipation and education were a threat to the white man who benefitted from free labor. Jacobs describes how she hid in a small space for seven years for fear of the wrath of the slavers. In those seven years she spent under a house, she contracted health problems, but these were seemingly less daunting than the white man. She finally escaped and promoted the freedom of black men while still fearing for her life because of the laws of the day.


Northup, Solomon. “Twelve Years a Slave. 1853.” Ed. Sue Eakin and Joseph Logsdon. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP (1968).

Douglass, Frederick. Autobiographies. Vol. 68. Library of America, 1994.

Jacobs, Harriet A. Harriet Jacobs and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: New Critical Essays. Cambridge University Press, 1996.

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