Douglass begins by explaining that he does not know the date of his birth (he later chose February 14, 1818), and that his mother died when he was 7 years old. He has very few memories of her (children were commonly separated from their mothers), only of the rare night time visit. He thinks his father is a white man, possibly his owner. At a very early age he sees his Aunt Hester being whipped. Douglass details the cruel interaction that occurs between slaves and slave holders, as well as how slaves are supposed to behave in the presence of their masters, and even when Douglass says that fear is what kept many slaves where they were, when they tell the truth they are punished by their owners. At the age of ten or eleven, Douglass's master dies and his property is left to be divided between his son and daughter. The slaves are valued along with the livestock, causing Douglass to develop a new hatred of slavery. He feels lucky when he is sent back to Baltimore to live with the family of Master Hugh.