Frederick Douglass (February 1818 – February 20, 1895) was an escaped slave who became a prominent activist, author and public speaker. He became a leader in the abolitionist movement, which sought to end the practice of slavery, before and during the Civil War. Douglass has been called the father of the civil rights movement and his work served as an inspiration to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and beyond. Below is a list of some of his most famous quotes about education, slavery and other topics. Please enjoy the following Frederick Douglass quotes 🙂

Famous Frederick Douglass Quotes

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. - Frederick Douglass

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“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


You are not judged by the height you have risen, but from the depth you have climbed. - Frederick Douglass

“You are not judged by the height you have risen, but from the depth you have climbed.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“The soul that is within me no man can degrade.”

~ Frederick Douglass


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

~ Frederick Douglass


“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

~ Frederick Douglass


Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. - Frederick Douglass

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“I should esteem it a privilege to set you an example as to how mankind ought to treat each other. I am your fellow-man, but not your slave.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“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.”

~ Frederick Douglass


The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous. - Frederick Douglass

“The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“There is no negro problem. The problem is whether the American people have loyalty enough, honor enough, patriotism enough, to live up to their own constitution”

~ Frederick Douglass


“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


“Neither we, nor any other people, will ever be respected till we respect ourselves and we will never respect ourselves till we have the means to live respectfully.”

~ Frederick Douglass


To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker. - Frederick Douglass

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

~ Frederick Douglass


“Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.”

~ Frederick Douglass


Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, neither persons nor property will be safe. - Frederick Douglass

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“I didn’t know I was a slave until I found out I couldn’t do the things I wanted.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“Yet people in general will say they like colored men as well as any other, but in their proper place.”

~ Frederick Douglass


People might not get all they work for in this world, but they must certainly work for all they get. - Frederick Douglass

“People might not get all they work for in this world, but they must certainly work for all they get.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“What I ask for the Negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“We succeed, not alone by the laborious exertions of our faculties, be they small or great, but by the regular, thoughtful and systematic exercise of them.”

~Frederick Douglass


“The white man’s happiness cannot be purchased by the black man’s misery.”

~ Frederick Douglass


A man's rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box. - Frederick Douglass

“A man’s rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“Right is of no sex, truth is of no color.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“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.”

~ Frederick Douglass


I know of no rights of race superior to the rights of humanity... - Frederick Douglass

“I know of no rights of race superior to the rights of humanity…”

~ Frederick Douglass


“A man, at times, gets something for nothing, but it will, in his hands, amount to nothing.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“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


“The destiny of the colored American … is the destiny of America.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“A great man, tender of heart, strong of nerve, boundless patience and broadest sympathy, with no motive apart from his country.”

~ Frederick Douglass


A man is worked on by what he works on. - Frederick Douglass

“A man is worked on by what he works on.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“Experience proves that those are oftenest abused who can be abused with the greatest impunity. Men are whipped oftenest who are whipped easiest.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“A man without force, is without the essential dignity of humanity. Human nature is so constituted, that it cannot honor a helpless man, although it can pity him.”

~ Frederick Douglass


“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


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

“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


“If the Negro knows enough to pay taxes to support the government, he knows enough to vote; taxation and representation should go together. If he knows enough to shoulder a musket and fight for the flag, fight for the government, he knows enough to vote.”

~ Frederick Douglass


Video of Powerful Frederick Douglass Quotes

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