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Making friends with "little white boys" became Frederick's path to literacy. They helped teach him to read.
The plan which I adopted, and the one by which I was most successful, was that of making friends of all the little white boys whom I met in the street. As many of these as I could, I converted into teachers. With their kindly aid, obtained at different times and in different places, I finally succeeded in learning to read.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
How did Douglass learn how to read when running errands?