Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

20. What subterfuge did Douglass use to gain his freedom? Describe the drama of his flight.

Frederick Douglass

Narratives of a Slave

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working for Hugh Auld, he runs errands for shipyard workers, but he after some of the workers heckle and strike Douglass, he fights back and is nearly beaten to death. Working at a different shipyard after the fight, Douglass becomes proficient at ship caulking, but he is forced to turn his wages over to Auld. Douglass soon makes an arrangement with Auld to hire himself out and give Auld a set amount of wages each week. Douglass is allowed to pocket the rest, thus saving enough for his escape to New York.

After his escape, Douglass is advised to move to New Bedford, Massachusetts, and he settles there with his new wife, Anna Murray. Douglass makes a living doing odd jobs; he is unable to find work as a caulker, however, because the white caulkers refuse to work with blacks, fearing the former slaves will take over their jobs. Although he still fears being caught and returned to the South, Douglass attends an anti-slavery convention, where he is encouraged to speak. This forms the beginning of his life in the public eye, speaking and writing in favor of the abolition of slavery.