Inspirational quotes to feed your soul and brighten your day.

128 Inspiring Quotes by Frederick Douglass

  • Last updated Oct 07 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Frederick Douglass.

Wikipedia Summary for Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey; c. February 1817 – February 20, 1895) was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, becoming famous for his oratory and incisive antislavery writings. Accordingly, he was described by abolitionists in his time as a living counterexample to slaveholders' arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens. Likewise, Northerners at the time found it hard to believe that such a great orator had once been a slave.

Douglass wrote three autobiographies, notably describing his experiences as a slave in his Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845), which became a bestseller, and was influential in promoting the cause of abolition, as was his second book, My Bondage and My Freedom (1855). Following the Civil War, Douglass remained an active campaigner against slavery and wrote his last autobiography, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. First published in 1881 and revised in 1892, three years before his death, the book covers events both during and after the Civil War. Douglass also actively supported women's suffrage, and held several public offices. Without his approval, Douglass became the first African-American nominated for Vice President of the United States as the running mate and Vice Presidential nominee of Victoria Woodhull, on the Equal Rights Party ticket.

Douglass believed in dialogue and in making alliances across racial and ideological divides, as well as in the liberal values of the U.S. Constitution. When radical abolitionists, under the motto "No Union with Slaveholders", criticized Douglass' willingness to engage in dialogue with slave owners, he replied: "I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong."

--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass

Longer Version:

What I ask for the Negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. ... All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! ... Your interference is doing him positive injury.



--Frederick Douglass

--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass




--Frederick Douglass


--Frederick Douglass

Longer Version:

In a composite Nation like ours, made up of almost every variety of the human family, there should be, as before the Law, no rich, no poor, no high, no low, no black, no white, but one country, one citizenship equal rights and a common destiny for all.

A government that cannot or does not protect the humblest citizen in his right to life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness, should be reformed or overthrown, without delay.


--Frederick Douglass

--Frederick Douglass


--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass

--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass

--Frederick Douglass



--Frederick Douglass

Longer Version:

I have observed this in my experience of slavery, -- that whenever my condition was improved, instead of its increasing my contentment, it only increased my desire to be free, and set me to thinking of plans to gain my freedom. I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason. He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery; he must be made to feel that slavery is right; and he can be brought to that only when he ceased to be a man.


--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass

--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass

--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass


--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass

--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass

Longer Version:

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. From my earliest recollection, I date the entertainment of a deep conviction that slavery would not always be able to hold me within its foul embrace.


--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass



--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass

Longer Version:

I assert most unhesitatingly, that the religion of the south is a mere covering for the most horrid crimes, -- a justifier of the most appalling barbarity, -- a sanctifier of the most hateful frauds, -- and a dark shelter under, which the darkest, foulest, grossest, and most infernal deeds of the slaveholders find the strongest protection. Were I to be again reduced to the chains of slavery, next to enslavement, I should regard being the slave of a religious master the greatest calamity that could befall me. 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

--Frederick Douglass

--Frederick Douglass

--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass

--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass

--Frederick Douglass


--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass

--Frederick Douglass

--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass



--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass



--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass



--Frederick Douglass


--Frederick Douglass





--Frederick Douglass

--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass
--Frederick Douglass

We wish you a perfect day!