Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

how was baltimore life different from that on the plantation?


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One of the most significant events in Douglass's life was being chosen amongst a number of slave children to go to Baltimore and reside with Hugh Auld, the brother-in-law of Lucretia's husband Thomas, and his wife. Here Douglass felt a sense of purpose and even freedom that he had never known. When Douglass moved to Baltimore he resided near Fell's Point, an enclave outside Baltimore annexed to the city in 1773. Blassingame writes that when Douglass moved there, it was a "heavily-populated neighborhood whose residents worked in shipbuilding and other maritime pursuits. Shipyards and wharves for unloading cargo lined its waterfront."

In this chapter Douglass's religious views are explicitly expressed for the first time. He believes God has intended him to someday escape the bonds of slavery. He understands that there must be some interference from Providence to choose him from amongst all of the slave children to move to Baltimore where the events that allowed him to truly become "Frederick Douglass" took place.