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50 Frederick Douglass Quotes about Freedom and Progress

frederick douglass quotes

Our latest collection of Frederick Douglass quotes on Everyday Power Blog.

Frederick Douglass was an American social reformer, abolitionist, writer, and orator whose work helped educate people about the horrors of slavery and helped move the abolitionist movement forward.

Born into slavery around 1818, Douglass taught himself to read and write before escaping from slavery in 1838. In the early 1840s, he began attending meetings of the abolitionist movement and later became a national leader of the movement in Massachusetts and New York.

Although he did not receive any formal education, Douglass penned several biographies and dozens of speeches, thus proving that black people were just as intelligent and talented. In his 1845 bestselling autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, which was influential in promoting the cause of abolition, he outlines his experiences as a slave.

Even after the civil war, Douglass remained active in advocating for equality, liberty and human rights. He died in 1895 after suffering a heart.

Long after his death, Douglass continues to serve as an inspiration to those who fight for equality and a more just society. In that respect, here are some powerful Frederick Douglass quotes to inspire you to always stand for what is right.

 

Frederick Douglass quotes about freedom and progress

 

1.) “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” – Frederick Douglass

 

2.) “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass

 

frederick douglass quotes on progress

 

3.) “To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.” –Frederick Douglass

 

4.) “Some know the value of education by having it. I know its value by not having it.” – Frederick Douglass

 

5.) “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

 

6.) “Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.”- Frederick Douglass

 

7.) “The soul that is within me no man can degrade.” – Frederick Douglass

 

8.) “We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass

 

9.) “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” ― Frederick Douglass

 

10.) “The white man’s happiness cannot be purchased by the black man’s misery.” – Frederick Douglass

 

Frederick Douglass quotes about slavery

 

11.) “I didn’t know I was a slave until I found out I couldn’t do the things I wanted.” – Frederick Douglass

 

12.) “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

 

13.) “Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” – Frederick Douglass

 

frederick douglass quotes about knowledge

 

14.) “Fugitive slaves were rare then, and as a fugitive slave lecturer, I had the advantage of being the first one out.” – Frederick Douglass

 

15.) “What to the Slave is the 4th of July.” – Frederick Douglass

 

16.) “There is not a man beneath the canopy of Heaven who does not know that slavery is wrong for him.” – Frederick Douglass

 

17.) “Slaves are generally expected to sing as well as to work.” – Frederick Douglass

 

18.) “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

 

19.) “A man who will enslave his own blood, may not be safely relied on for magnamity.” – Frederick Douglass

 

20.) “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

 

Powerful Frederick Douglass quotes that’ll open your eyes

 

21.) “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

 

22.) “The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion.” – Frederick Douglass

 

frederick douglass quotes about life

 

23.) “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

 

24.) “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

 

25.) “The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.” – Frederick Douglass

 

26.) “The destiny of the colored American … is the destiny of America.” ― Frederick Douglass

 

27.) “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

 

28.) “Freedom is a road seldom traveled by the multitude.” ― Frederick Douglass

 

29.) “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.” ― Frederick Douglass

 

30.) “Our destiny is largely in our hands.” ― Frederick Douglass

 

Frederick Douglass quotes that teach and inspire

 

31.) “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” – Frederick Douglass

 

32.) “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

 

33.) “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.” ― Frederick Douglass

 

frederick douglass quotes on doing right

 

34.) “A man’s character always takes its hue, more or less, from the form and color of things about him.” – Frederick Douglass

 

35.) “People might not get all they work for in this world, but they must certainly work for all they get.” – Frederick Douglass

 

36.) “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”  – Frederick Douglass

 

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

 

38.) “Right is of no sex, Truth is of no color, God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren.”  – Frederick Douglass

 

39.) “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

 

40.) “I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ; I therefore hate the corrupt, slave-holding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.” ― Frederick Douglass

 

Other inspirational Frederick Douglass quotes

 

41.) “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

 

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

 

43.) “A gentleman will not insult me, and no man not a gentleman can insult me.” ― Frederick Douglass

 

44.) “My hopes were never brighter than now.” ― Frederick Douglass

 

frederick douglass quotes on life

 

45.) “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

 

46.) “I will give Mr. Freeland the credit of being the best master I ever had, till I became my own master.” ― Frederick Douglass

 

47.) “Experience is a keen teacher;” ― Frederick Douglass

 

48.) “To enslave men, successfully and safely, it is necessary to have their minds occupied with thoughts and aspirations short of the liberty of which they are deprived. A certain degree of attainable good must be kept before them.” ― Frederick Douglass

 

49.) “He treated me as a man… He did not let me feel for a moment that there was any difference in the color of our skins.” ― Frederick Douglass

 

50.) “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

 

Which of these Frederick Douglass quotes was your favorite?

Despite being born into slavery and receiving minimal formal education, Douglass rose to become a prominent activist, author, and public speaker. He proved that slaves had the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens.

Besides being a believer in the equality of all mankind, Douglass also believed in dialogue and in all people uniting irrespective of their race and ideologies. Hopefully, these quotes have inspired you to always fight for what is right.

Did you enjoy these Frederick Douglass quotes? Which of the quotes was your favorite? We would love to hear all about it in the comment section below.

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