William Wells Brown was a prominent African American abolitionist lecturer and novelist. Born into slavery, Brown managed to escape and dedicated his life to advocating for the prohibition of slavery. Thus, it can be assumed that the agenda of Brown’s piece of writing Memories of Childhood is to show the horror and unjust treatment experienced by those enslaved. The brutal flogging described in the considered writing is starkly juxtaposed to the naïve-sounding title Memories of Childhood. Through the description of the whipping of the farm slaves and the inability of the author to prevent it or stop it, Brown shows the helplessness and dire conditions of a life of a slave.
The perspective of the author was undoubtedly influenced by his own experiences as a person born into slavery and raised as an enslaved servant. He views slavery and the experiences of enslaved individuals as fundamentally wrong and reprehensible. In particular, the practice of whipping slaves with the so-called “negro-whip” is viewed by Brown as contemptible and degrading. Such a strong opinion of the practice stems from the author’s own experience and the experience of his mother as a farmhand. Numerous documented historical events support Brown’s view of whipping practices, other punishments for enslaved persons, as well as slavery as a whole. For example, the infamous picture Whipped Peter shows a man who, as Brown, managed to escape slavery, with his back covered in scars from lashing enacted onto him during his enslavement on a Louisiana plantation. Thus, Brown’s opinion of slavery and activities associated with it, in particular, flogging, is based on the actual experiences of the enslaved individuals. Overall, it can be argued that the view the author holds a preconception against whipping. However, it can also be asserted that this opinion is warranted.