Education and Slavery are Incompatible

Education and Slavery are Incompatible
by Glory Pang
During slavery, the slaves were deprived of human rights, and political and social freedom. Slaves were limited of resources and education which restricted them from memories of their culture, humanity, and independence. During the late 1800’s, Frederick Douglass was a former African-American slave, who later became an abolitionist, social reformer, orator and writer. Douglass shares his hardships he had to endure to fight slavery for freedom. His hardships consisted of physical and mental abuse – enlightenment was just as painful as lashes and scars. Education and slavery are incompatible for both slaves and slave owners because the truth and power that comes with education is fearful and tortuous.
The slave owners take advantage of uneducated slaves because education liberates people. Therefore, slave owners fear slaves being educated because it gave the slaves a chance of power to be enlightened, to rebel, promote or to find the truth for themselves and seek for solutions. “Nothing seemed to make her more angry than to see me with a newspaper” (177). Frederick Douglass’ mistress becomes violent and strict when finding out her slave, Douglass, is holding the newspaper that contains facts, new information, and knowledge, that can be only understood by literate people. She’s especially angry because it’s fearful to see her main slave household supporter holding the key to freedom and abolishment of slavery. “From this time, I was most narrowly watched. If I was in a separate room at any considerable length of time, I was sure to be suspected of having a book…” (177). This shows the incompatible and paranoid attitude of the slave owner when knowing or seeing a slave being educated. l
In addition, education and slavery are incompatible for slave because of knowing the torturous truth and laborious process of being educated. Douglass considered education a “curse rather than a blessing” (179), because knowing the atrocity – the truth – will intensify the agony because the slaves will have to admit their suffering in addition to their emotional distress of hopelessness and defeat. The slave would also have to live in the vicious cycle of slavery while being aware of how fruitful life could be. “It opened my eyes to my wretched condition.” Education allowed Douglass to contrast his miserable life with the “normal,” protected, and liberated life that should be applied to the slaves as well. During the devastating period of slavery, education can be traumatic and distressing, as it is  difficult to accept and grasp the reality of slavery. But as painful as it was, the enlightenment empowered the slaves to confront and question the law and the slave owners, to gain their independence and human rights.
Education and slavery are incompatible because they threaten rivalries with the key to solutions. With access to education, people can abuse it or use it for the betterment of the world. In this case, the slave owners used it to confine slaves to wretched conditions while the slaves used education to escape slavery and fight for morality. Education prevents such immoral acts through law, debate, rebellion, reformation, moral values, and learning from the past mistakes.