¶ … American life stories: Even within America they functioned as 'immigrants.' Franklin fled from his brother to Philadelphia. Franklin began his own print shop and his industry and sobriety was in stark contrast with his first associate, who likes to drink. Douglass, of course, must leave the enslaved south and head north. In this sense both men function as 'self-made' or enterprising men, deliberately wresting themselves out of their challenging personal circumstances to pursue a new life.
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Although Benjamin Franklin and Fredrick Douglass began their lives on the opposite sides of the black-white divide in America, their personal narratives contain many parallel features. Both suffered a kind of slavery -- indentured servitude to his brother in the case of Franklin and actual slavery in the south in the case of Douglass -- and both later rose to prominent heights as authors and self-made men.
Both men held work in high esteem. Franklin saw his thrift and industry as the reason for his success. Douglass criticized slavery because it eroded the ability to work hard and to make a profit off of one's own labor. Both men are shown chafing at the restrictions placed upon them while they were young. Douglass longed to learn how to read and while literacy was not denied to Franklin, the young Franklin had to conceal his authorship of the editorials he published in his brother's newspaper. Similarly, Douglass had to conceal his urge to learn how to read as a slave. As a young boy, he was fortunate enough to be taught the alphabet and he kept this knowledge within him even in the face of very trying conditions as he was determined to escape the confines of slavery. Both men, in different ways, illustrate a common yearning for
However, because Douglass was located in an openly hostile country, his personal trajectory was slightly different than that of Franklin's. Franklin took a relatively positive view of America: he was able to escape his brother relatively easily and is not pursued. He was able to begin his printing shop and later start a newspaper and almanac successfully, because of his own efforts. This affirmed in his eyes the value of frugality, pluck, and optimism. Douglass, in contrast, constantly had to fight those who enslaved him to retain his dignity. In the various situations in which he occupied over the course of his life as a slave he was repeatedly…
Even within America they functioned as 'immigrants.' Franklin fled from his brother to Philadelphia. Franklin began his own print shop and his industry and sobriety was in stark contrast with his first associate, who likes to drink. Douglass, of course, must leave the enslaved south and head north. In this sense both men function as 'self-made' or enterprising men, deliberately wresting themselves out of their challenging personal circumstances to pursue a new life.
would attack the institutional laws that maintained black Americans as vastly unequal from their white counterparts. In his famous missive from legal captivity for protesting on behalf of equal rights, King articulated how it was that the Civil Rights movement could at once work to utilize laws to change institutional segregation and simultaneously resist Jim Crow laws still in effect. Meditating on the subject, King remarked, "One may well ask:
Stressing the shackles that slavery could latch to a man's mind, Douglass was given insight into the inherent transgression behind the bondage. And his ability to adopt such a perspective, while easy to underestimate from the distance of over a century, is quite remarkable given the overwhelming social constructions designed to deter that sort of thinking amongst his demographic. One of the more effective messages that he conveyed both
Benjamin Franklin and Frederick Douglas Indeed, in both Benjamin Franklin's An Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and Frederick Douglas's A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, An American Slave, we, as readers, are told the stories of two men who faced adversity, and with much hard work and courage, were able to overcome the obstacles that stood in their way in order to become influential and important men in America. Interestingly
Frederick Douglass' involvement in the women's rights movement of the nineteenth century, and where Douglass stood on women's rights. Douglass was an orator, a statesman, and an outspoken proponent of civil rights for all who were oppressed, even women. His stand on rights and dignity for all mankind has made him one of the most enduring freedom fighters Americans have ever known. He worked hard for women's freedom as
Franklin's autobiography demonstrates a truly American kind of businessman, because he so neatly embodies all of the assumptions and logical fallacies that American capitalism depends on in order to justify its dominance in an ostensibly equitable and representative society. Where Franklin's autobiography demonstrates the peculiar appeal to divine right that is used to justify the inequity of American capitalism, Herman Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener demonstrates the almost willful obtuseness necessary
Slave Narrative and Black Autobiography - Richard Wright's "Black Boy" and James Weldon Johnson's Autobiography The slave narrative maintains a unique station in modern literature. Unlike any other body of literature, it provides us with a first-hand account of institutional racially-motivated human bondage in an ostensibly democratic society. As a reflection on the author, these narratives were the first expression of humanity by a group of people in a society where