Frederick Douglass Quotes & Wallpapers

Frederick Douglass
Total Quotes: 257


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

A government, founded on impartial liberty, where all have a voice and a vote, irrespective of color or of sex - what is there to hinder such a government from standing firm. Frederick Douglass

I know of no rights of race superior to the rights of humanity. Frederick Douglass

The mind does not take its complexion from the skin.... Frederick Douglass

I was broken in body, soul, and spirit. 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! Frederick Douglass

Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letter, U.S., let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pocket, there is no power on earth that can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship. Frederick Douglass

There is a class of people who seem to think that if a man should fall overboard into the sea with a Bible in his pocket it would hardly be possible to drown. I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs. Frederick Douglass

Freedom is a road seldom traveled by the multitude. Frederick Douglass

[...] allowing only ordinary ability and opportunity, we may explain success mainly by one word and that word is WORK! WORK!! WORK!!! WORK!!!! Not transient and fitful effort, but patient, enduring, honest, unremitting and indefatigable work into which the whole heart is put[...] There is no royal road to perfection. Frederick Douglass

Vainly you talk about voting it down. When you have cast your millions of ballots, you have not reached the evil. It has fastened its root deep into the heart of the nation, and nothing but God's truth and love can cleanse the land. We must change the moral sentiment. Frederick Douglass

Money is the measure of morality, and the success or failure of slavery as a money-making system, determines with many whether...it should be maintained or abolished. Frederick Douglass

Once you read, you will be free forever. Frederick Douglass

The District of Columbia is the one spot where there is no government for the people, of the people and by the people. Frederick Douglass

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham. Frederick Douglass

The destiny of the colored American... is the destiny of America. Frederick Douglass

Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation are men who want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass

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. Frederick Douglass

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

Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them. Frederick Douglass

When a great truth once gets abroad in the world, no power on earth can imprison it, or prescribe its limits, or suppress it. It is bound to go on till it becomes the thought of the world. Frederick Douglass

You degrade us and then ask why we are degraded. You shut our mouths and ask why we don't speak. You close your colleges and seminaries against us and then ask why we don't know. Frederick Douglass

I ask you...to adopt the principles proclaimed by yourselves, by your revolutionary fathers, and by the old bell in Independence Hall.... Frederick Douglass

I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. Frederick Douglass

The man who is right is a majority. He who has God and conscience on his side, has a majority against the universe. Frederick Douglass

What I ask for the Negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. ... All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! ... Your interference is doing him positive injury. Frederick Douglass

I knew that however bad the Republican party was, the Democratic party was much worse. The elements of which the Republican party was composed gave better ground for the ultimate hope of the success of the colored mans cause than those of the Democratic party. Frederick Douglass

A war undertaken and brazenly carried for the perpetual enslavement of the colored men, calls logically and loudly for the colored men to help suppress it. Frederick Douglass

Self-Made Men are those who owe little or nothing to birth, relationship, or friendly surroundings; to wealth inherited or to early approved means of education; who are what they are, without the aid of any favoring conditions by which other men usually rise in the world and achieve great results. . . They are in a peculiar sense indebted to themselves for themselves. Frederick Douglass

I assert most unhesitatingly, that the religion of the South is a mere covering for the most horrid crimes-a justifier of the most appalling barbarity...a shelter under...which the darkest, foulest, grossest, and most infernal deeds of slaveholders find the strongest protection Frederick Douglass

There is no negro problem. The problem is whether the American people have loyalty enough, honor enough, patriotism enough, to live up to their own constitution Frederick Douglass

Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined. Frederick Douglass

Instead of the bright, blue sky of America, I am covered with the soft, grey fog of the Emerald Isle. I breathe, and lo! the chattel becomes a man. Frederick Douglass

[A] woman should have every honorable motive to exertion which is enjoyed by man, to the full extent of her capacities and endowments. The case is too plain for argument. Nature has given woman the same powers, and subjected her to the same earth, breathes the same air, subsists on the same food, physical, moral, mental and spiritual. She has, therefore, an equal right with man, in all efforts to obtain and maintain a perfect existence. Frederick Douglass

[...] endless action and reaction. Those beautifully rounded pebbles which you gather on the sand and which you hold in your hand and marvel at their exceeding smoothness, were chiseled into their varies and graceful forms by the ceaseless action of countless waves. Nature is herself a great worker and never tolerates, without certain rebuke, any contradiction to her wise example. Inaction is followed by stagnation. Stagnation is followed by pestilence and pestilence is followed by death. Frederick Douglass

I escaped from slavery and became a leading abolitionist and speaker. Frederick Douglass

Every one of us should be ashamed to be free while his brother is a slave. Frederick Douglass

The ground which a colored man occupies in this country is, every inch of it, sternly disputed. Frederick Douglass

This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Frederick Douglass

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Frederick Douglass

Mr. Lincoln was not only a great President, but a great man - too great to be small in anything. In his company I was never in any way reminded of my humble origin, or of my unpopular color. Frederick Douglass

In a composite nation like ours, as before the law, there should be no rich, no poor, no high, no low, no white, no black, but common country, common citizenship, equal rights and a common destiny. Frederick Douglass

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

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

The sunlight that has brought life and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. Frederick Douglass

Allow us the dignity to fight for our own freedom Frederick Douglass

What is possible for me is possible for you. Frederick Douglass

Without culture there can be no growth; without exertion, no acquisition; without friction, no polish; without labor, no knowledge; without action, no progress; and without conflict, no victory. The man who lies down a fool at night, hoping that he will waken wise in the morning, will rise up in the morning as he laid down in the evening. Frederick Douglass

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

Did John Brown fail? John Brown began the war that ended American slavery and made this a free Republic. Frederick Douglass

In this denial of the right to participate in government, not merely the degradation of woman and the perpetuation of a great injustice happens, but the maiming and repudiation of one-half of the moral and intellectual power of the government of the world. Frederick Douglass

It is better to be part of a great whole than to be the whole of a small part. Frederick Douglass

The marriage institution cannot exist among slaves, and one sixth of the population of democratic America is denied it's privileges by the law of the land. What is to be thought of a nation boasting of its liberty, boasting of it's humanity, boasting of its Christianity, boasting of its love of justice and purity, and yet having within its own borders three millions of persons denied by law the right of marriage? Frederick Douglass

Some know the value of education by having it. I know it's value by not having it. Frederick Douglass

Slaves were expected to sing as well as to work. A silent slave was not liked, either by masters or overseers. Frederick Douglass

Intelligence is a great leveler here as elsewhere Frederick Douglass

No man can be truly free whose liberty is dependent upon the thought, feeling and action of others, and who has himself no means in his own hands for guarding, protecting, defending and maintaining that liberty Frederick Douglass

No, I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard on this or the other side of the Atlantic, I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. Frederick Douglass

In a composite Nation like ours, made up of almost every variety of the human family, there should be, as before the Law, no rich, no poor, no high, no low, no black, no white, but one country, one citizenship equal rights and a common destiny for all. A government that cannot or does not protect the humblest citizen in his right to life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness, should be reformed or overthrown, without delay. Frederick Douglass

If there is no struggle, there is no progress....This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Frederick Douglass

Praying for freedom never did me any good til I started praying with my feet. Frederick Douglass

The more I read, the more I was led to abhor and detest my enslavers. Frederick Douglass

I will unite with anyone to do good, but with no one to do harm. Frederick Douglass

In the struggle for justice, the only reward is the opportunity to be in the struggle. You can't expect that you're going to have it tomorrow. You just have to keep working on it. Frederick Douglass

Beat and cuff your slave, keep him hungry and spiritless, and he will follow the chain of his master like a dog. Feed and clothe him well, work him moderately, surround him with physical comfort and dreams of freedom intrude. Frederick Douglass

Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters US, let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder, and bullets in his pocket, and there is no power on earth or under the earth which can deny that he has earned the right of citizenship in the United States. Frederick Douglass

A gentleman will not insult me, and no man not a gentleman can insult me. Frederick Douglass

... and in thinking of my life, I almost forgot my liberty. Frederick Douglass

The Constitution is a GLORIOUS LIBERTY DOCUMENT. Read its preamble, consider it purposes. Is slavery among them? Is it at the gateway? or is it in the temple? it is neither. Frederick Douglass

In regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. Frederick Douglass

He who is whipped oftenest, is whipped easiest. Frederick Douglass



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