I think is it interesting that Frederick Douglass was very bold in his writings. Unlike others, like Jupiter , who have used religion as a hope, Frederick Douglass claims that the oppressing American society uses religion as aHammon mask; Frederick Douglas clearly states that “By a principle essential to Christianity, a person is eternally differenced from a THING” (Douglass, 1). Frederick Douglass clearly mentions that religion does not support slavery; moreover, the bluntness used in this writing suggests that Douglass’ was using these statements as a way of “calling out” the “white” community for being hypocritical. Frederick Douglass then goes on and implies that not only is religion a pious mask, but he also states that the fact that there are African Americans who have “illustrated and adorned our common country by their genius, learning and eloquence” (Douglass, 5). In other words, the fact that individuals, like himself, are able to overcome the daily obstacles faced as a slave and still contribute to society, further proves that African Americans are not, by any means, inferior! Frederick Douglass valued education because he understood that excellence and achievement directly contradicted slavery. Therefore, Frederick Douglass thought that depriving slaves from receiving an education was crippling to the African American community.
Fredrick Douglass attributes this enlightenment regarding education to his experiences at the plantation. Witnessing firsthand the cruelties that many slaves endured, left Frederick Douglass with mental scars that would stay with him forever. One example was when Frederick Douglass witnessed a slave mother and wife named Nelly whipped till her back was drenched in blood. From an early age Frederick Douglass was taught that “God was good, and that He knew what was best for me” . Even though Frederick Douglass was young the cruelties that he witnessed sparked doubt. This doubt was the catalyst that made him eventually realize that if slaves had the opportunity to become educated things would be different. They would have the opportunity to think for themselves. Slaves would no longer be helpless because of their ignorance. Instead they would be able to contribute in society and be equally sophisticated. Education would allow salves to recognize the tyranny of slavery. Fredrick Douglass realized that the main strategy used to oppress slaves, were to keep the enslaved population ignorant. This is why many of the slave owners prohibited their slaves from learning how to read and write. In fact, most slaves would get severely beaten if caught trying to learn how to read. In many ways, this is why music was important. Music was the closest thing to writing that slaves had to express themselves. In many ways, music was a spoken literature. This allowed them to express their hardships and even communicate an idea to a bigger crowd. Often times Negro Spirituals would contain metaphors that expressed the harsh conditions many slaves endured. Religious hymns expressed hope, even if it was a higher spiritual hope. Music gave slaves an outlet to express themselves without catching the direct attention of their slave masters. In other words, music was discreet enough for it to become a medium for expression!