Notable Quotes
Browse quotes by subject | Browse quotes by author


I have often sung to drown my sorrow, but seldom to express my happiness. Crying for joy, and singing for joy, were alike uncommon to me while in the jaws of slavery. The singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave; the songs of the one and of the other are prompted by the same emotion.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, My Bondage and My Freedom

I hated slavery, always, and the desire for freedom only needed a favorable breeze, to fan it into a blaze, at any moment. The thought of only being a creature of the present and the past troubled me, and I longed to have a future--a future with hope in it. To be shut up entirely to the past and present, is abhorrent to the human mind; it is to the soul--whose life and happiness is unceasing progress--what the prison is to the body; a blight and mildew, a hell of horrors. The dawning of this, another year, awakened me from my temporary slumber, and roused into life my latent, but long cherished aspirations for freedom. I was now not only ashamed to be contented in slavery, but ashamed to seem to be contented.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, My Bondage and My Freedom

Heaven's blessing must attend all, and freedom must soon be given to the pining millions under a ruthless bondage.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, My Bondage and My Freedom

It was considered as being bad enough to be a slave; but to be a poor man's slave was deemed a disgrace indeed!

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

In thinking of America, I sometimes find myself admiring her bright blue sky -- her grand old woods -- her fertile fields -- her beautiful rivers -- her mighty lakes, and star-crowned mountains. But my rapture is soon checked, my joy is soon turned to mourning. When I remember that all is cursed with the infernal actions of slaveholding, robbery and wrong -- when I remember that with the waters of her noblest rivers, the tears of my brethren are borne to the ocean, disregarded and forgotten, and that her most fertile fields drink daily of the warm blood of my outraged sisters, I am filled with unutterable loathing.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass

No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other fastened about his own neck.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, speech, Oct. 1883

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, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Colonel Lloyd's slaves would boast his ability to buy and sell Jacob Jepson. Mr. Jepson's slaves would boast his ability to whip Colonel Lloyd. These quarrels would almost always end in a fight between the parties, and those that whipped were supposed to have gained the point at issue. They seemed to think that the greatness of their masters was transferable to themselves.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, address on West India Emancipation, Aug. 4, 1857

The Republican Party is the ship and all else is the sea around us.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, attributed, Frederick Douglass: American Hero

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, speech on the occasion of the 24th Anniversary of Emancipation in Washington, D.C., "Southern Barbarism", April 16, 1888

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

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, letter to men from Petersburg, Virginia, August 15, 1888

If the Republican Party shall fail to carry out this purpose, God will raise up another party that will be faithful.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass: Reconstruction and After

The slave auctioneer's bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave-trade go hand in hand together. The slave prison and the church stand near each other. The clanking of fetters and the rattling of chains in the prison, and the pious psalm and solemn prayer in the church, may be heard at the same time. The dealers in the bodies of men erect their stand in the presence of the pulpit, and they mutually help each other. The dealer gives his blood-stained gold to support the pulpit, and the pulpit, in return, covers his infernal business with the garb of Christianity. Here we have religion and robbery the allies of each other -- devils dressed in angels' robes, and hell presenting the semblance of paradise.

FREDERICK DOUGLAS, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass


Life Quotes

Love Quotes

Death Quotes

God Quotes

Wisdom Quotes

Hope Quotes

Success Quotes

Women Quotes

Happiness Quotes

Shakespeare Quotes