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

A collection of sayings and quotations by Frederick Douglass on civil war, struggle, education, injustice and liberty.

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

Quick Facts

Famous As: American orator

Born On: February 1, 1818

Died On: February 20, 1895

Born In: Talbot County, Maryland, U.S

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.

Frederick Douglass

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.

Frederick Douglass

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.

Frederick Douglass

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.

Frederick Douglass

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.

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.

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.

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.

Frederick Douglass

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.

Frederick Douglass

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.

Frederick Douglass

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.

Frederick Douglass

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.

Frederick Douglass

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.

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.

Frederick Douglass

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

Frederick Douglass

Without Struggle There Is No Success

Frederick Douglass

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.

Frederick Douglass

Without struggle there can be no forward progress!

Frederick Douglass

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.

Frederick Douglass

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.

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

Power concedes nothing without a demand.

Frederick Douglass

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

Frederick Douglass

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

Frederick Douglass

What to the Slave is the 4th of July?

Frederick Douglass

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.

Frederick Douglass

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.

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

Frederick Douglass

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.

Frederick Douglass

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.

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

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.

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.

Frederick Douglass

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

Frederick Douglass

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.

Frederick Douglass

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

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.

Frederick Douglass

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.

Frederick Douglass

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.

Frederick Douglass

The soul that is within me no man can degrade.

Frederick Douglass

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;

Frederick Douglass

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.

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.

Frederick Douglass

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.

Frederick Douglass

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,

Frederick Douglass

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.

Frederick Douglass

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.

Frederick Douglass

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.

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.

Frederick Douglass

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

Frederick Douglass