Top 100

Top 200 Frederick Douglass Quotes (2023 Update)
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Frederick Douglass Quote: “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 Quote: “I say, this picture sometimes appalled us, and made us rather bear those ills we had. Than fly to others, that we knew not of.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “That a man might do something very audacious and desperate for money, power or fame, was to the general apprehension quite possible; but, in face of plainly-written law, in face of constitutional guarantees protecting each state against domestic violence, in face of a nation of forty million of people, that nineteen men could invade a great State to liberate a despised and hated race, was to the average intellect and conscience, too monstrous for belief.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “They are thought pictures – the outstanding headlands of the meandering shores of life, and are points to steer by on the broad sea of thought and experience. They body forth in living forms and colors the ever varying lights and shadows of the soul.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “How do you feel,” said a friend to me, “when you are hooted and jeered on the street on account of your color?” “I feel as if an ass had kicked, but had hit nobody,” was my answer.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “H. H. GARNET. We need a thousand such representative.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “Prior to his conversion, he relied upon his own depravity to shield and sustain him in his savage barbarity; but after his conversion, he found religious sanction and support for his slaveholding cruelty.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “A man, at times, gets something for nothing, but it will, in his hands, amount to nothing.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down. They know its power. Thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, founded in injustice and wrong, are sure to tremble, if men are allowed to reason.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “A worship that can be conducted by persons who refuse to give shelter to the houseless, to give bread to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and who enjoin obedience to a law forbidding these acts of mercy, is a curse, not a blessing to mankind.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “The table groans under the heavy and blood-bought luxuries gathered with painstaking care, at home and abroad. Fields, forests, rivers and seas, are made tributary here. Immense wealth, and its lavish expenditure, fill the great house with all that can please the eye, or tempt the taste.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “If we ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and, if needs be, by our lives, and the lives of others.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “I have often been utterly astonished, since I came to the north, to find persons who could speak of the singing, among slaves, as evidence of their contentment and happiness. It is impossible to conceive of a greater mistake. Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy. The songs of the slave represent the sorrow of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears. At least, such is my experience.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “The better you treat a slave, the more you destroy his value as a slave, and enhance the probability of his eluding the grasp of the slaveholder; the more kindly you treat him, the more wretched you make him, while you keep him in the condition of a slave.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker. It is just as criminal to rob a man of his right to speak and hear as it would be to rob him of his money.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “You will be free as soon as you are twenty-one, but I am a slave for life! Have not I as good a right to be free as you have?”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “At this moment, I saw more clearly than ever the brutalizing effects of slavery upon the slave and slaveholder.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “I admit that the slave does sometimes sing, dance and appear to be merry. But what does this prove? It only proves to my mind, that though slavery is armed with a thousand stings, it is not able entirely to kill the elastic spirit of the bondman.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “Driven intosemi-exile by civil and barbarous laws, and by a system which cannot be thought of without a shudder, I was fullyjustified in turning, if possible, the tide of the moral universeagainst the heaven-daring outrage.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “Truth shines with brighter light and intenser heat at every moment, and a country torn and rent and bleeding implores relief from its distress and agony.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “Men talk much of a new birth. The fact is fundamental. But the mistake is in treating it as an incident which can only happen to a man once in a lifetime: whereas the whole journey of life is a succession of them. A new life springs up in the soul with the discovery of every new agency by which the soul is raised to a higher level of wisdom: goodness and joy.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “Such are the limitations of the common mind, and so thoroughly engrossing are the cares of common life, that only the few among men can discern through the glitter and dazzle of present prosperity the dark outlines of approaching disasters, even though they may have come up to our very gates, and are already within striking distance. The yawning seam and corroded bolt conceal their defects from the mariner until the storm calls all hands to the pumps.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “Mr. Severe’s place was filled by a Mr. Hopkins. He was a very different man. He was less cruel, less profane, and made less noise, than Mr. Severe. His course was characterized by no extraordinary demonstrations of cruelty. He whipped, but seemed to take no pleasure in it. He was called by the slaves a good overseer.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “In studying the character and works of a great man, it is always desirable to learn in what he is distinguished from others, and what have been the causes if this difference.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my own abhorrence. From my earliest recollection, I date the entertainment of a deep conviction that slavery would not always be able to hold me within its foul embrace.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “Another advantage I gained in my new master was, he made no pretensions to, or profession of, religion; and this, in my opinion, was truly a great advantage.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “It is good to think that in Heaven all troubles will be over, that war and carnage will be no more, that all injustice, cruelty and wrong shall be no more; but incomparably better is it for a man to gird on the whole armour of truth and righteousness, and wage war with these evils, and banish them from the Earth – and thus have the will of God done on Earth as done in Heaven.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “It was the pursuit of knowledge under difficulties, and I look back to it now, after so many years, with some complacency and a little wonder that I could have been so earnest and persevering in any pursuit other than for my daily bread. I certainly saw nothing in the conduct of those around to inspire me with such interest: they were all devoted exclusively to what their hands found to do.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “A treacherous President stood in the way; and it can be easily seen how reluctant good men might be to admit an apostasy which involved so much of baseness and ingratitude. It was natural that they should seek to save him by bending to him even when he leaned to the side of error. But all is changed now.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “For no man who lives at all lives unto himself. He either helps or hinders all who are in anywise connected to him.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “And I remember that God reigns in eternity, and that whatever delays, whatever disappointments and discouragements may come, truth, justice, liberty, and humanity will ultimately prevail.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “The fatal poison of irresponsible power was already in her hands, and soon commenced its infernal work. That cheerful eye, under the influence of slavery, soon became red with rage; that voice, made all of sweet accord, changed to one of harsh and horrid discord; and that angelic face gave place to that of a demon.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake... the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes... denounced.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “Welcome, welcome joy, welcome sorrow, welcome pleasure, welcome pain. You are all the ingredients of life – and with you all, life is an inestimable blessing.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “It may, perhaps, be fairly questioned, whether any other portion of the population of the earth could have endured the privations, sufferings and horrors of slavery, without having become more degraded in the scale of humanity than the slaves of African descent.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “I have sometimes thought that the mere hearing of those songs would do more to impress some minds with the horrible character of slavery, than the reading of whole volumes of philosophy on the subject could do.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “Mr. Johnson had just been reading the “Lady of the Lake,” and at once suggested that my name be “Douglass.” From that time until now I have been called “Frederick Douglass;.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “Of one thing I could be glad: not one of my dear friends upon whom I had brought this great calamity, reproached me, either by word or look, for having led them into it. We were a band of brothers, and never dearer to each other than now. The thought which gave us the most pain was the probable separation which would now take place in case we were sold off to the far south as we were likely to do.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “It was no easy matter to induce her to think and to feel that the curly-headed boy, who stood by her side, and even leaned on her lap; who was loved by little Tommy, and who loved little Tommy in turn; sustained to her only the relation of a chattel. I was more than that, and she felt me to be more than that.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “I have often been asked how I felt when first I found myself on free soil. There is scarcely anything in my experience about which I could not give a more satisfactory answer. A new world had opened upon me. If life is more than breath and the “quick round of blood,” I lived more in that one day than in a year of my slave life. It was a time of joyous excitement which words can but tamely describe.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “The American people are not remarkable for moderation. They despise halfness. They will go with him who goes farthest and stay with him who stays longest. What the country thinks of half-men and half-measures is seen by the last election. We repudiate all such men and all such measures.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “The reading of these speeches added much to my limited stock of language, and enabled me to give tongue to many interesting thoughts, which had frequently flashed through my soul, and died away for want of utterance.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “No one idea has given rise to more oppression and persecution toward colored people of this country than that which makes Africa, not America, their home.”
Frederick Douglass Quote: “Your faculties remained yours, and mine became useful to their rightful owner.”
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