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Frederick Douglass and Identity: Resurrection to the Heaven of Freedom

45 min

Walk-In-The-Shoes Questions
As you read, imagine you are the protagonist.

  • What challenges are you facing?
  • What fears or concerns might you have?
  • What may prevent you from acting in the way you ought?

Observation Questions

  • Describing his experiences under Edward Covey, Douglass later said, “…the dark night of slavery closed in on me, and behold a man transformed into a brute.” What do you think he meant by “the dark night of slavery?” What would it mean for you to be “transformed into a brute?”
  • What series of events led Douglass to recover the spirit of manhood and fight for his freedom and dignity?
  • In what ways did Douglass’s experiences as a slave contribute to his ability to fight for the freedom of others?

Discussion Questions
Discuss the following questions with your students.

  • What is the historical context of the narrative?
  • What historical circumstances presented a challenge to the protagonist?
  • How and why did the individual exhibit a moral and/or civic virtue in facing and overcoming the challenge?
  • How did the exercise of the virtue benefit civil society?
  • How might exercise of the virtue benefit the protagonist?
  • What might the exercise of the virtue cost the protagonist?
  • Would you react the same under similar circumstances? Why or why not?
  • How can you act similarly in your own life? What obstacles must you overcome in order to do so?
  • Students will understand how Frederick Douglass rejected the identity of “slave” and determined to take on the identity of a free man.
  • Students will analyze their own actions, goals, and ambitions to determine how identity contributes to achievement of worthy goals.

Student Handouts