Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

the narrative life of fredrick douglass

who is fredrick's aunt?

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Douglass recalls how his own aunt was often prey to cruel whippings. The first time he witnessed this outrage, it "struck me with awful force. It was the blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery, through which I was about to pass. It was a most terrible spectacle. I wish I could commit to paper the feelings with which I beheld it."

This event took place when he was very young. His aunt had gone out one night but did not have permission to do so. She was romantically involved with a man named Ned Roberts, who belonged to Colonel Lloyd. There was some suspicion that she was also forced to have sex with Anthony, as she was beautiful and noble in appearance. When Anthony discovered her absence, he punished her upon her return. He stripped her naked to the waist, tied her hands to a hook, and began viciously whipping her, crying out that she was a "damned bitch." Douglass was utterly scarred from observing this spectacle; since he had never seen it before, living on the outskirts of the plantation with his grandmother, he wondered if he was next.