I read a post from Heather Cox Richardson this morning in which she told the story of Frederick Douglass’ escape to freedom. She described how Mr. Douglass had been bought and sold by a number of slave owners, sometimes somewhat kind and sometimes almost murderously brutal. At the time of his attempt to head north to a life of his own choosing he had a job that was perhaps easier than those of most slaves but he was still the property of someone and subject to the whims of his master.
At any moment he might have been sold down the river to a life of working in the fields or worse. He fully understood the consequences of attempting to run away in pursuit of freedom but the lure of being his own man outweighed his fears.
He stepped on a train with forged papers and headed north. The rest, of course, is history.