Frederick Douglass Quotes

Most popular Frederick Douglass Quotes

Oppression makes a wise man mad.
— Frederick Douglass

oppression

It's a poor rule that won't work both ways.
— Frederick Douglass

law

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

struggle

I glory in conflict that I may hereafter exult in victory.
— Frederick Douglass

civil rights victory

To make a contented slave, you must make a thoughtless one.
— Frederick Douglass

slavery

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

civil rights

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

action

A true patriot is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins.
— Frederick Douglass

patriotism

Human law may know no distinction among men in respect of rights, but human practice may.
— Frederick Douglass

law race inequality

A man's character always takes its hue, more or less, from the form and color of things about him.
— Frederick Douglass
Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation are men who want rain without thunder and lightning.
— Frederick Douglass

freedom revolution

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

freedom

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.

inner peace be yourself

Woman knows and feels her wrongs as man cannot know and feel them, and she also knows as well as he can know, what measures are needed to redress them.
— Frederick Douglass

women's rights

Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.  They want rain without thunder and lightning.  They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.
— Frederick Douglass

Activism

Though the colored man is no longer subject to be bought and sold, he is still surrounded by an adverse sentiment which fetters all his movements. In his downward course he meets with no resistance, but his course upward is resented and resisted at every step of his progress.
— Frederick Douglass

African-Americans racism

Everybody has asked the question. . ."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. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature's plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!

African-Americans

The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle...... If there is no struggle there is no progress. 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. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. 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.