Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

82 Uplifting Frederick Douglass Quotes That Will Give You Lessons For Life

Famous As: Abolitionist, Social Reformer
Born On: 1818 AD
Died On: February 20, 1895
Born In: Talbot County, Maryland, United States
Died At Age: 77
Frederick Douglass was an African-American social reformer, statesman, writer, abolitionist and an orator who became a leader of the abolitionist movement. He was known for his dazzling oratory and incisive anti-slavery writings and thoughts. He also wrote various autobiographies. “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave”, one of his autobiographies became the best seller. All his writings and works reflect his powerful thoughts on issues that were dear to him. Over the years, his thoughts have become famous quotations and are quotes extensively. He was actively involved in efforts that espoused issues like women's rights, peace, land reform and education. Frederick Douglass educated slaves and motivated them to know their rights. Douglass published his first abolitionist newspaper, 'The North Star' when he returned from the US. In 1848, Douglass was the only African-American to attend Seneca Falls Convention, the first women's rights convention, showing his support for women’s rights. Douglass had escaped slavery and fought for those who were still captive.  His thoughts and quotations are still relevant and inspire many.
Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.

Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.

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

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

Frederick Douglass
I recognize the Republican party as the sheet anchor of the colored man's political hopes and the ark of his safety.

I recognize the Republican party as the sheet anchor of the colored man's political hopes and the ark of his safety.

Frederick Douglass
I could, as a free man, look across the bay toward the Eastern Shore where I was born a slave.

I could, as a free man, look across the bay toward the Eastern Shore where I was born a slave.

Frederick Douglass
Fugitive slaves were rare then, and as a fugitive slave lecturer, I had the advantage of being the first one out.

Fugitive slaves were rare then, and as a fugitive slave lecturer, I had the advantage of being the first one out.

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

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

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
The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

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

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

Frederick Douglass
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.

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.

Frederick Douglass
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.

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.

Frederick Douglass
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.

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.

Frederick Douglass

Everybody has asked the question, and they learned to ask it early of the abolitionists, 'What shall we do with the Negro?' I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us.

Frederick Douglass
Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.

Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.

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

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

Frederick Douglass
Without a struggle, there can be no progress.

Without a struggle, there can be no progress.

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

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

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

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

Frederick Douglass
The white man's happiness cannot be purchased by the black man's misery.

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

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

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

Frederick Douglass
To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.

To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.

Frederick Douglass
I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.

I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.

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

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

Frederick Douglass
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.

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.

Frederick Douglass
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.

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.

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

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

Frederick Douglass
Without Struggle There Is No Success

Without Struggle There Is No Success

Frederick Douglass
It is easier to build strong men, than to repair broken ones.

It is easier to build strong men, than to repair broken ones.

Frederick Douglass
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.

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.

Frederick Douglass
Without struggle there can be no forward progress!

Without struggle there can be no forward progress!

Frederick Douglass
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.

Frederick Douglass
It's easier to build strong children then repair broken men.

It's easier to build strong children then repair broken men.

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.

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
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.

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
Power concedes nothing without a demand.

Power concedes nothing without a demand.

Frederick Douglass
The life of a nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.

The life of a nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.

Frederick Douglass
I had as well be killed running as die standing

I had as well be killed running as die standing

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

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

Frederick Douglass
What to the Slave is the 4th of July?

What to the Slave is the 4th of July?

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

Freedom is a road seldom traveled by the multitude.

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

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

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

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

Frederick Douglass
My hopes were never brighter than now.

My hopes were never brighter than now.

Frederick Douglass
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

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

Frederick Douglass
The silver trump of freedom roused in my soul eternal wakefulness.

The silver trump of freedom roused in my soul eternal wakefulness.

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

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

Frederick Douglass
Our destiny is largely in our hands.

Our destiny is largely in our hands.

Frederick Douglass
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.

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.

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.

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
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.

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

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

Frederick Douglass
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.

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
It was worth half-cent to kill a

It was worth half-cent to kill a "nigger", and a half-cent to bury one.

Frederick Douglass
The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart

The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart

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

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

Frederick Douglass
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.

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.

Frederick Douglass
A man's character always takes its hue, more or less, from the form and color of things about him.

A man's character always takes its hue, more or less, from the form and color of things about him.

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

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

Frederick Douglass
The thought of only being a creature of the present and 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.

The thought of only being a creature of the present and 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.

Frederick Douglass
One and God make a majority.

One and God make a majority.

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

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

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

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

Frederick Douglass
I had a wholesome dread of the consequences of running in debt.

I had a wholesome dread of the consequences of running in debt.

Frederick Douglass
The soul that is within me no man can degrade.

The soul that is within me no man can degrade.

Frederick Douglass
Experience is a keen teacher;

Experience is a keen teacher;

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

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

Frederick Douglass
Man's greatness consists in his ability to do and the proper application of his powers to things needed to be done.

Man's greatness consists in his ability to do and the proper application of his powers to things needed to be done.

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

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

Frederick Douglass
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.

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.

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

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

Frederick Douglass
The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion.

The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion.

Frederick Douglass
How do you feel,

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
Beware of a Yankee when he is feeding,

Beware of a Yankee when he is feeding,

Frederick Douglass
We were both victims to the same overshadowing evil—she, as mistress, I, as slave.

We were both victims to the same overshadowing evil—she, as mistress, I, as slave.

Frederick Douglass
You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.

You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.

Frederick Douglass
I will give Mr. Freeland the credit of being the best master I ever had, till I became my own master.

I will give Mr. Freeland the credit of being the best master I ever had, till I became my own master.

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

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

Frederick Douglass
The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.

The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.

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

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

Frederick Douglass
They’ll read and sing a sacred song,
And make a prayer both loud and long,
And teach the right and do the wrong,
Hailing htthe brother, sister, throng,
With words of heavenly union.

They’ll read and sing a sacred song, And make a prayer both loud and long, And teach the right and do the wrong, Hailing htthe brother, sister, throng, With words of heavenly union.

Frederick Douglass
Alas! I had not then learned the measure of

Alas! I had not then learned the measure of "man's inhumanity to man," nor to what limitless extent of wickedness he will go for the love of gain.

Frederick Douglass
Most successful one was that of tarring his fence all around; after which, if a slave was caught

Most successful one was that of tarring his fence all around; after which, if a slave was caught

Frederick Douglass