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Let us render the tyrant no aid; let us not hold the light by which he can trace the footprints of our flying brother. Options
Daemon
Posted: Sunday, May 26, 2013 12:00:00 AM
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Let us render the tyrant no aid; let us not hold the light by which he can trace the footprints of our flying brother.

Frederick Douglass (1817-1895)
Bully_rus
Posted: Sunday, May 26, 2013 1:03:21 AM
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The Art of War from an escaped slave.
MTC
Posted: Sunday, May 26, 2013 5:55:58 AM
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In Chapter XI of The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the author explains why he will not go into detail in describing the "underground railroad:"

I have never approved of the very public manner in which some of our western friends have conducted what they call the ~underground railroad,~ but which I think, by their open declarations, has been made most emphatically the ~upperground railroad.~ I honor those good men and women for their noble daring, and applaud them for willingly subjecting themselves to bloody persecution, by openly avowing their participation in the escape of slaves. I, however, can see very little good resulting from such a course, either to themselves or the slaves escaping; while, upon the other hand, I see and feel assured that those open declarations are a positive evil to the slaves remaining, who are seeking to escape. They do nothing towards enlightening the slave, whilst they do much towards enlightening the master. They stimulate him to greater watchfulness, and enhance his power to capture his slave. We owe something to the slave south of the line as well as to those north of it; and in aiding the latter on their way to freedom, we should be careful to do nothing which would be likely to hinder the former from escaping from slavery. I would keep the merciless slaveholder profoundly ignorant of the means of flight adopted by the slave. I would leave him to imagine himself surrounded by myriads of invisible tormentors, ever ready to snatch from his infernal grasp his trembling prey. Let him be left to feel his way in the dark; let darkness commensurate with his crime hover over him; and let him feel that at every step he takes, in pursuit of the flying bondman, he is running the frightful risk of having his hot brains dashed out by an invisible agency. Let us render the tyrant no aid; let us not hold the light by which he can trace the footprints of our flying brother. But enough of this. I will now proceed to the statement of those facts, connected with my escape, for which I am alone responsible, and for which no one can be made to suffer but myself.

( http://www.pagebypagebooks.com/Frederick_Douglass/The_Narrative_of_the_Life_of_Frederick_Douglass/Chapter_XI_p1.html)
Miriam...
Posted: Sunday, May 26, 2013 9:52:09 AM

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Thank you, dear MTC, for the added context. I especially like this part of the passage:

"I would leave him to imagine himself surrounded by myriads of invisible tormentors, ever ready to snatch from his infernal grasp his trembling prey. Let him be left to feel his way in the dark; let darkness commensurate with his crime hover over him; and let him feel that at every step he takes, in pursuit of the flying bondman, he is running the frightful risk of having his hot brains dashed out by an invisible agency."
MTC
Posted: Sunday, May 26, 2013 10:26:41 AM
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You're welcome, Miriam.

Douglas was a gifted writer and speaker who used many colorful figures of speech. Today that rhetorical style has mostly fallen out of fashion. Too bad, many would say. Here's another taste of his rhetoric from a famous speech:

“At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would today pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be denounced.”

(http://jamieraleighualr.edublogs.org/2012/03/31/fredrick-douglass-speech-analysis/)

Not someone you'd want to cross!


jcbarros
Posted: Sunday, May 26, 2013 1:49:55 PM

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Thundery.
Miriam...
Posted: Monday, May 27, 2013 6:25:10 AM

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Joined: 12/20/2012
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To MTC: This passage actually gave me goose-flesh and shivers up my spine. Thank you for researching it and posting it on the forum for everyone to read. The atrocity of slavery is hard to imagine in its real life reality. By the ferocity of F.D.'s language, one can sense the horror of slavery.
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