Frederick Douglass was an abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. He was born into slavery in 1818 on a plantation in Maryland. After gaining his freedom in 1838, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement.
His stirring speeches and writings eloquently articulated the inhumanity of slavery and the need for emancipation. In this blog post we’ll explore some of Douglass’ most memorable quotes on a variety of topics. So sit back, relax, and let Frederick Douglass inspire you!
Best Frederick Douglass Quotes 2023
1. “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” — Frederick Douglass
2. “The man who is right is a majority. We, who have God and conscience on our side, have a majority against the universe.” — Frederick Douglass
3. “We were both victims to the same overshadowing evil―she, as a mistress, I, as a slave.” — Frederick Douglass
4. “I say nothing of father, for he is shrouded in a mystery I have never been able to penetrate. Slavery does away with fathers, as it does away with families.” — Frederick Douglass
5. “The relation between the white and colored people of this country is the great, paramount, imperative, and all-commanding question for this age and nation to solve.” — Frederick Douglass
6. “The ground which a colored man occupies in this country is, every inch of it, sternly disputed.” — Frederick Douglass
7. “A man who will enslave his own blood, may not be safely relied on for magnanimity.” — Frederick Douglass
8. “I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.” — Frederick Douglass
9. “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.” — Frederick Douglass
10. “Slaves are generally expected to sing as well as to work.” — Frederick Douglasz
11. “The Right is of no Sex-Truth is of no Color-God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren.” — Frederick Douglass
12. “Once you learn to read you will be forever free.” — Frederick Douglass
13. “The American people have this to learn: that 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 person nor property is safe.” ―
14. “Slaves are generally expected to sing as well as to work.” ―
15. “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.” ―
16. “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” ―
17. “What, to the American slave, is your Fourth 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; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.” ―
18. “Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” ―
19. “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.” ―
20. “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.” ―
21. “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.” ―
22. “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 sanctifier of the most hateful frauds, – and a dark shelter under, which the darkest, foulest, grossest, and most infernal deeds of the slaveholders find the strongest protection. Were I to be again reduced to the chains of slavery, next to enslavement, I should regard being the slave of a religious master the greatest calamity that could befall me. 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.” ―
23. “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?” ―
24. “A gentleman will not insult me, and no man not a gentleman can insult me.” ―
25. “No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.” ―
26. “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.“ ―
27. “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning.“ ―
28. “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” ―
29. “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” ―
30. “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.” ―
Conclusion: Frederick Douglass Quotes 2023
Frederick Douglass was a prominent abolitionist and orator during the 1800s. He was born into slavery, but educated himself and eventually became one of the most influential voices in the fight against slavery.
His words continue to be relevant today, as we grapple with many of the same social issues. In these quotes from Frederick Douglass, you can see his wisdom on a range of topics, from education to freedom to strength in adversity.
What do you find inspiring about Frederick Douglas’ words?