Dante’s Inferno describes an imaginary trip to hell, and he places certain individuals in lower reaches (e.g., Brutus for killing Julius Caesar). Look at Frederick Douglass’s owners and overseers. Who would you place in the lower regions of hell? Can any of them be saved?
In The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), wrote of an imaginary trip
through hell and heaven. In his vision, he considered the most evil persons who would
go to hell. Frederick Douglass (1817-1895) did not have to imagine hell: he lived it as a
slave in Maryland. Looking at Douglass’s life, we might imagine the individuals he met,
and can consider whether they have been consigned to the nether world.
Douglass offers fascinating insights into a terrible chapter in our history. “My
father was a white man,” Douglass wrote. “The opinion was also whispered that my
master was my father (p. 17).”