English essay #10
Booker T. Washington was born into slavery around 1858. After the Civil War he was set free and pursued an education. He soon became the voice of the former slaves in politics and helped fight discriminatory laws. In the first chapter of his autobiography Washington describes his life as a slave. He makes many arguments as to why slavery is such a horrible institution.
Slavery makes a human being a just a piece of property. This is disrespectful and immoral. It leads to the master seeing the slave as less than human, or at least less than him. Since The master sees the slave as just a tool the slave is often mistreated. Washington describes the poverty of slaves. Since slaves were just property to owners the masters didn’t allow them to have any property of their own.
Washington said that the institution of slavery undermined work ethic for both the owners and the slaves. Since the master had slaves to do the work he didn’t develop any useful skills that he could use to make a living with. Since the slaves didn’t own anything and didn’t really have a big interest in how good the work was done, many of them did not have very good work ethic. They would just do enough to keep from being punished. Not having anything of their own and being in such poverty, the temptation for slaves to steal was also great.
Another great evil of slavery was that their was no family structure for the slaves. Slaves were not allowed to get married. Slaves fell in love and “married” each other but it wasn’t legal. The owners didn’t respect when one slave loved another so there was always the possibility that one of them might be sold. This was horrible for the children who often grew up without one or both of their parents. Growing up without parents did nothing to help the morality of the slaves.
Slaves were not given an education in most cases. This was a shame because it contributed to the belief that blacks are not as intelligent as whites and are therefore less human than other races. It also made it more difficult for newly freed slaves to make a good living.
Slavery was and is a horrible system that is bad for both the slave and the master. Every human is made equal and should be free.