Why Frederick Douglass Didn’t Need His Appendix Removed


Lyssa Henry

At the end of the autobiographical Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the writer included an appendix to explain his view on Christianity. Douglass was not like the other Christians of his time because he was not on board with slavery. Of course, his being a slave did contribute to that, but just seeing what slave owners and overseers did to their slaves was enough to make Douglass want to make a change. In the appendix of his novel, he explained that his problem was not with Christians, it was with those that claimed Christianity and also owned slaves or supported slavery.

It is a real shame that something like that appendix was necessary because of the standard that Christians are held to in the Bible. If people had done what Jesus said to, every person, regardless of skin color, would be treated as equal. People would love their neighbors, and not only the ones that look like them. Slavery never would have happened.

The fact that Frederick Douglass felt that he needed to write what he did is a poor reflection on the character of Christians and people today are not much better. Slavery has been abolished but people everywhere are still fighting for equal rights. Racism has cooled down but it is still a major problem that we are still dealing with. The Bible and America don’t agree on much but they have both said that all men are created equal. There is no one that can deny that that truth is one that has at least been said to be shared by almost every people group, but that truth is also almost never lived out.

Too often people believe that as long as they say out loud that they believe everyone is equal they can do whatever they want and treat other people as less than they are. No one will say it out loud, but most people are under the impression that they deserve more than other people do and that they are better than other people. There’s just something in our minds that makes us believe that we deserve more than the next person.

If you’re still saying “That isn’t me, I don’t think I’m better than everyone else,” Try putting yourself in a situation that might convict you. Say you just tried out for the musical at your school. They posted the cast list and you got something! Not your first choice, but the second one. You got the part that is still technically considered a lead, but has little stage time and only one song. For the first little while, you’re excited! Later, though, one of the people that chose the cast decided to tell you that you were going to get the other part that you wanted more but you had written your preference backwards on your sheet. If you had written down that you wanted the other part more, you would have gotten it. Then the first full read-through of the musical happens and you realize you’re barely in the show at all. The person that got the part you wanted more was reading line after line after line. They’re in a lot of scenes and a lot of songs and you still haven’t read anything yet. Do you feel like you’re there in that situation? Good, so you know that you would feel like the other person doesn’t deserve the role as much as you do.

It’s natural, we as humans have a difficult time seeing past ourselves. It’s a cruel reality, so we need to do more to recognize the value of other people before we treat them in a way that we wouldn’t want to be treated.

One thought on “Why Frederick Douglass Didn’t Need His Appendix Removed

  • This makes me think of the sad truth that slavery is still happening. There are people that are treated like they are not human and are sold in the sex trade and/or used as slave labor. I wish everyone could subscribe to the Bible’s truth like you theorize about, but the opposite was happening. People were twisting the truth to defend their practices. It is interesting that Douglass was the one to call out these people that claimed Christianity even though I don’t think he explicitly claimed that he himself was a Christian. Our own pride is the root of a lot of evil, and your post does a good job of highlighting that. Our pride and thinking that we deserve so much is where everything goes downhill.

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