Top 39 Frederick Douglass Quotes

The thought of only being a creature of the present and the past was troubling. I longed for a future too, with hope in it. The desire to be free, awakened my determination to act, to think , and to speak.


Slaves are generally expected to sing as well as to work.


I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.


People might not get all they work for in this world, but they must certainly work for all they get.


Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.


Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.


It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.


I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.


I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.


Immense wealth, and its lavish expenditure, fill the great house with all that can please the eye, or tempt the taste. Here, appetite, not food, is the great desideratum.


From apparently the basest metals we have the finest toned bells.


Having no resources within himself, he was compelled to be the copyist of many, and being such, he was forever the victim of inconsistency;


A smile or a tear has not nationality; joy and sorrow speak alike to all nations, and they, above all the confusion of tongues, proclaim the brotherhood of man


At this moment, I saw more clearly than ever the brutalizing effects of slavery upon the slave and slaveholder.


They suppress the truth rather than take the consequence of telling it, and in so doing prove themselves a part of the human family.


I didn’t know I was a slave until I found out I couldn’t do the things I wanted.


The white man’s happiness cannot be purchased by the black man’s misery.


Right is of no sex, Truth is of no color, God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren


For of all slaveholders with whom I have ever met, religious slaveholders are the worst. I have ever found them the meanest and basest, the most cruel and cowardly, of all others.


Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy. The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears.


A man who will enslave his own blood, may not be safely relied on for magnamity.


For my part, I should prefer death to hopeless bondage.


The silver trump of freedom had roused my soul to eternal wakefulness.


There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven, that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.


…The singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave; the songs of the one and of the other are prompted by the same emotion.


My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect languished, the disposition to read departed, the cheerful spark that lingered about my eye died; the dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into a brute!


They attend with Pharisaical strictness to the outward forms of religion, and at the same time neglect the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.


We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.


It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.


A little learning, indeed, may be a dangerous thing, but the want of learning is a calamity to any people.


I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.


At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed.


A battle lost or won is easily described, understood, and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation, to appreciate it.


Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.


When men sow the wind it is rational to expect that they will reap the whirlwind.


Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.


I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress.


America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future.


We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.



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