Leaders / Innovators

34 Best Frederick Douglass Quotes (FREEDOM)

50

Top 12 Most Famous Frederick Douglass Quotes (BEST)

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.
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.
Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.
Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.
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.
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
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.
Without struggle there is no success.
Without struggle there is no success.
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.
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.
The soul that is within me no man can degrade.
The soul that is within me no man can degrade.
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.
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.

22 Inspirational Frederick Douglass Quotes on Education and Slavery (JUSTICE)

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.
Some know the value of education by having it. I know its value by not having it.
Some know the value of education by having it. I know its value by not having it.
Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.
Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.
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.
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.
There is not a man beneath the canopy of Heaven who does not know that slavery is wrong for him.
There is not a man beneath the canopy of Heaven who does not know that slavery is wrong for him.

“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
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.
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.
A man is worked upon by what he works on. He may carve out his circumstances, but his circumstances will carve him out as well.
A man is worked upon by what he works on. He may carve out his circumstances, but his circumstances will carve him out as well.
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.

“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
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.
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.
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.
The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion.
The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion.
Freedom is a road seldom traveled by the multitude.
Freedom is a road seldom traveled by the multitude.
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.
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.
Slaves are generally expected to sing as well as to work.
Slaves are generally expected to sing as well as to work.
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.
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 Short Biography

Born in February 1818 (exact date unknown) in Tuckahoe, Maryland, United States, Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey (who later changed his last name to Douglass) was an African-American 19th-century rights leader, and the first Black citizen to obtain a high position in the United States government.

In his youth, he worked for the Auld family as a house servant. During this time, the wife of Hugh Auld decided to teach him how to read, but was made to stop by her husband.

In 1833, Douglass made his first escape attempt while working in Baltimore, but got caught before he was able to escape. In 1838 he escaped to Massachusetts. He then changed his last name to Douglass to evade slave hunters.

During an anti-slavery convention in 1841, Douglass was asked to speak about his experiences as a slave. His impromptu speech was so moving and articulate that he became a representative for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society.

In 1882, Douglass completed his autobiography, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, which then became an America Literature classic.

He was a consultant to President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and was a supporter of the women’s rights movement.

From 1889- 1891 Frederick Douglass was the U.S. minister and consul general to Haiti.

Further Reading:

Here are the best Frederick Douglass quotes so you can be inspired to overcome your past and fight for a better future. 

(MUST READ)

Also read:

Best Frederick Douglass Quotes (FREEDOM) - Gracious Quotes

Explore More Quotes

61 Nelson Mandela Quotes on Life & Integrity (HONOR)

Jeremiah Say

61 Theodore Roosevelt Quotes (INSPIRATIONAL)

Jeremiah Say

Top 74 Thomas Jefferson Quotes (INDEPENDENCE)

Jeremiah Say

71 Inspiring Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes (FREEDOM)

Jeremiah Say

46 Best Ronald Reagan Quotes (DEMOCRATS)

Jeremiah Say

104 Mother Teresa Quotes on Giving & Kindness (LOVE)

Jeremiah Say