This book is difficult to read, due to the content. I cannot comprehend how humans can treat other humans like that and not see the cruelty. The story of Douglass’ upbringing shows a variety of slave contexts, from the most cruel to those where slaves were treated more humanely, with opportunities to learn to read (though they were still slaves). I could only read a few pages at a time through this section, as it made me so sad.
I found the Afterwards very striking. Douglass attacks the church in his time for the hypocrisy of preaching dignity, marriage, and love, while denying everything to their slaves. This chapter should be read aloud in every church today.
I recommend this book anytime, but it’s a particularly useful read during Black History Month.