General topic index

Roll over topics for links.

Biography * Timeline * Speech excerpts (Audio where available) *
Books by Frederick Douglass * Books about Frederick Douglass * Related books * Frederick Douglass on film * Frederick Douglass Today * Essays * General * Favorite Quotes * Frederick Douglass on... * Fun

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Favorite quotes

The following are some of his greatest quotes, taken from his three autobiographies, speeches and letters.

25) “It was a glorious resurrection, from the tomb of slavery, to the heaven of slavery. My long-crushed spirit rose, cowardice departed, bold defiance took its place; and I now resolved that, however long I might remain a slave in form, the day had passed forever when I could be a slave in fact.”
— From the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. He’s referring to the day when he, at 16 years old, beat the snot out of his master Covey, who had a carefully protected reputation as a “n*gger breaker.”

24) “The silver trump of freedom has roused my soul to eternal wakefulness. Freedom now appeared, to eternal wakefulness. It was heard in every sound, and seen in everything.”
— From the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

23) “Man’s greatness consists in his ability to do and the proper application of his powers to things needed to be done.”

22) “What is possible for me is possible for you.”

21) “Some men know the value of education by having it. I know its value by not having it.”
— Blessings of Liberty and Education, Manassas, Va., 1894

20) “It is a frequent and favorite device of an indefensible cause to misstate and pervert the views of those who advocate a good cause.”
— The Civil Rights Case, 1883

19) “I know of no soil better adapted to the growth of reform than American soil. I know of no country where the conditions for affecting great changes in the settled order of things, for the development of right ideas of liberty and humanity, are more favorable than here in these United States.”
— Speech on the Dred Scott Decision, 1857

18) “To make a contented slave it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken the moral and mental vision and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason.”
— from the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

17) “One by one I have seen obstacles removed, errors corrected, prejudices softened, proscriptions relinquished, and my people advancing in all the elements that go to make up the sum of the general welfare. 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.”
— The Race Problem, 1890

16) “To [President and General Ulysses S. Grant] more than any other man the negro owes his enfranchisement and the Indian a humane policy. In the matter of the protection of the freedman from violence his moral courage surpassed that of his party; hence his place as its head was given to timid men, and the country was allowed to drift, instead of stemming the current with stalwart arms.”
— Frederick Douglass Papers, quoted in President Grant Reconsidered by Frank Scaturro

15) “Once you learn to read, you will forever be free.”

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

13) “Without education he lives within the narrow, dark and grimy walls of ignorance. … Education, on the other hand, means emancipation. It means light and liberty. It means the uplifting of the soul of man into the glorious light of truth, the light by which men can only be made free. To deny education to any people is one of the greatest crimes against human nature. It is easy to deny them the means of freedom and the rightful pursuit of happiness and to defeat the very end of their being.”
— Blessings of Liberty and Education, Manassas, Va., 1894

12) “To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.”
—1860 speech in Boston

11) “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.”
— 1860 speech in Boston

10) “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
— Significance of Emancipation in the West Indies, 1857

9) “The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.”
— Speech on the twenty-fourth anniversary of Emancipation in the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C., April 1886

8) “Everybody has asked the question… ‘What shall we do with the Negro?’ I have had but one answer since the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us.”
— What the Black Man Wants, 1865

7) “Few evils are less acceptable to the force of reason, or more tenacious of life and power, than a long-standing prejudice.”
— The Color Line, 1881

6) “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is constant victim.”
— What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?, July 5, 1852

5) “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.”
— April 14, 1876 speech about Lincoln

4) “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.”
— Speech on the 24th anniversary of Emancipation in the District of Columbia, April 1886

3) “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.”
— Civil Rights Mass Meeting, 1883

2) “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
— Significance of Emancipation in the West Indies, 1857

1) “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.”
— Significance of Emancipation in the West Indies, 1857

No comments:

Post a Comment