LIFE AS A FREEMAN.
should, the constitution of our country is our warrant
for the abolition of slavery in every state in the
American Union. I mean, however, not to argue, but
simply to state my views. It would require very
many pages of a volume like this, to set forth the ar¬
guments demonstrating the unconstitutionality and the
complete illegality of slavery in our land ; and as my
experience, and not my arguments, is within the
scope and contemplation of this volume, I omit the
latter and proceed with the former.
I will now ask the kind reader to go back a little
in my story, while I bring up a thread left behind for
convenience sake, but which, small as it is, cannot
be properly omitted altogether; and that thread is
American prejudice against color, and its varied il¬
lustrations in my own experience.
When I first went among the abolitionists of New
England, and began to travel, I found this prejudice
very strong and very annoying. The abolitionists
themselves were not entirely free from it, and I could
see that they were nobly struggling against it. In
their eagerness, sometimes, to show their contempt
for the feeling, they proved that they had not entirely
recovered from it; often illustrating the saying, in
their conduct, that a man may " stand up so straight
as to lean backward." When it was said to me, " Mr.
Douglass, I will walk to meeting with you ; I am not
afraid of a black man," I could not help thinking—
seeing nothing very frightful in my appearance —
"And why should you be?" The children at the
north had all been educated to believe that if they
were bad, the old black man — not the old devil —