How Long Would Douglass Be With Covey (And Why)?

How Long Would Douglass Be With Covey (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 1 year

Douglass or Frederick Douglass was born a slave. Douglass didn’t know the exact date of his birth, he never knew his father’s name, never saw his mother’s face after the age of seven. As a teenager, he taught himself to read. 

At first, he was in Mr. Thomas’ house, and then he went to live with Mr. Covey or Edward Covey. Frederick Douglass managed to be with Edward Covey for one year. 

At that time slave owners made a point of separating families. Breaking family bonds increased dependence on slave owners. Slave owners maintained discipline through simple fear and destroying self-esteem. A slave was punished for not working hard and also for working too hard. Douglass experienced all of this and rebelled against it. 

How Long Would Douglass Be With Covey

How Long Would Douglass Be With Covey? 

Douglass lived with Covey1 year
For how many years Douglass is enslaved 7 years 

Douglass was born a slave. During his teenage years, he made himself read. Reading created a desire for freedom. When his owner Mr. Thomas got to know about this disturbing development, he sent him to live with a local farmer named Edward Covey. 

Edward Covey was such a person who was unpleasant and made extra money breaking the will of unruly slaves. Douglass went to live with Covey on the first of January in 1833.

Covey was very rude and cruel. He beat Douglass every week for six months, for no reason. Douglass did undergo two near-death experiences while driving oxen. Covey took Douglass to the woods and beat him with switches. 

Covey treated him dreadfully without showing mercy. With this, Douglass gave up all hope of being free. The first six months of working for Covey became the darkest days of slavery that Douglass ever experienced. 


Douglass was broken to the point of wanting to kill himself and Mr. Covey. He was so shattered that he gave up all hope of living. One hot August day in 1835, he fought back when Covey struck him. He was not sure where he found the courage.

Both of them fought for two hours until Covey stumbled away exhausted. He stood up for himself. After that day, Covey never laid a hand on him again. This was an important turning point in his life. He tried hard and finally made his escape from slavery in 1838.

Why Would Douglass Be With Covey For So Long? 

After sensing the disturbing development in Douglass, Mr.Thomas sent him to live with a very harsh and unkind local farmer as well as a slaveholder, Edward Covey. Douglass came to live with Covey but he could not tolerate the way Covey tortured him for a long time even without any mistake. 

Over six months, he was beaten brutally. He was afraid, weak, hopeless. Being a slaveholder, Covey behaved inhumanly. He was unexpectedly harsh and unkind towards Covey. 

Douglass, in a letter, wrote that he was broken in body, soul, and spirit, the dark night of slavery closed in upon him. His natural elasticity was crushed and his intellect languished, the disposition to read departed and a man transformed into a brute. 

Despite all these, he somehow convinced himself to endure because he believed that after so many days of pain and struggle, days of happiness were coming. He was hopeful, full of courage and beliefs. 

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If Covey would have not treated him this badly, then Douglass could have been with Covey for a little longer. As everything has a limit, Douglass’s patience in bearing Covey’s mistreatment also had a limit. When that limit was crossed Covey reacted oppositely. 

He could bear for half a year but after that Douglass fought back. Then he turned into a man from a slave. Then he wrote that his long-crushed spirit rose, cowardice departed and bold defiance took its place. 


Though one year is not that long, this one year feels like one thousand years if it is spent with pain, tears, sorrow, and cowardice. It is obvious that Frederick Douglass was with Edward Covey for a year only, but the pain and sorrow that Douglass got during this one year, made us feel like a thousand years. 

If Edward Covey had treated Douglass in a better way with mercy and humanity, Douglass’s life could have been something else. At the same time, if this had not happened this way, then Douglass could never be courageous and free from slavery. Hence, all’s well that ends well. 


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19 thoughts on “How Long Would Douglass Be With Covey (And Why)?”

  1. The extremity of Douglass’s suffering is unfathomable, his unbroken spirit and eventual escape from slavery is a testament to human fortitude.

  2. The suffering of Douglass elucidates the horror of slavery and the savage nature of some slaveholders. Covey’s treatment was abominable.

    1. Agreed, his narrative brings to light the harrowing reality of slavery, his survival against such brutal circumstances is remarkable.

  3. This account of Douglass’s life illustrates the resilience and courage amid unimaginable suffering, a true testament to the human spirit.

    1. Indeed, the strength demonstrated by Douglass provides a deep understanding of the harsh realities faced by enslaved individuals.

  4. The tale of Douglass’s fight against brutal oppression is heart-wrenching and awe-inspiring, a reminder of the strength of the human will to survive.

    1. Douglass’s resilience in the face of inhumane treatment serves as a potent reminder of the enduring spirit and endurance against oppression

  5. Douglass’s battle against the brutality of Covey is a staggering testament to his enduring spirit and indomitable courage against overwhelming odds.

    1. Douglass’s resilience in the face of such cruelty is a resounding testament to his enduring strength and unyielding courage.

    2. The tenacity exhibited by Douglass amidst such suffering exemplifies the unwavering strength of the human will to persevere.

  6. The depiction of Douglass’s harsh reality under Covey highlights the excruciating ordeals faced by slaves, a somber reminder of the inhumane nature of slavery.

  7. Douglass’s harrowing experience under Covey is a distressing portrayal of the cruel and inhumane treatment endured by the enslaved.

    1. His story is a testament to the enduring human spirit, an exemplification of strength and resilience in the face of extreme adversity.

    2. Avatar of Richards Jennifer
      Richards Jennifer

      The unyielding spirit showcased by Douglass in the face of such dehumanizing treatment remains an inspiration, a reflection of unbreakable human resolve.

  8. The narration of Douglass’s endurance and eventual escape from Covey’s cruelty is an impactful portrayal of overcoming unimaginable adversity through unyielding determination.

  9. This is a powerful and poignant account that vividly portrays the brutality faced by those enslaved in history.

  10. Avatar of Isabella Evans
    Isabella Evans

    The cruelty experienced by Frederick Douglass under the brutal farmer Edward Covey is an example of the inhumanity and suffering slaves endured. His courage and endurance for one year are remarkable.

    1. The transformation and resilience of Douglass is a testimony to human spirit and the ability to overcome oppression.

    2. Avatar of Roxanne Robinson
      Roxanne Robinson

      Atrocious treatment and unimaginable strength, Douglass’ story is both distressing and inspiring.

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