Quotes by Frederick Douglass
I assert ''most unhesitatingly,'' that the religion of the South as I have observed it and proved it 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 abominations fester and flourish. Were I again to be reduced to the condition of A slave, next to that calamity, I should regard the fact of being the slave of a religious slaveholder, the greatest that could befall me.
In all the relations of life and death, we are met by the color line.
'''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.'''
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.
From the first I saw no chance of bettering the condition of the freedman until he should cease to be merely a freedman and should become a citizen.
Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters US, let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder, and bullets in his pocket, and there is no power on earth or under the earth which can deny that he has earned the right of citizenship in the United States.
The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.
I say nothing of ''father'', for he is shrouded in a mystery I have never been able to penetrate. Slavery does away with fathers, as it does away with families. Slavery has no use for either fathers or families, and its laws do not recognize their existence in the social arrangements of the plantation.
I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard on this or the other side of the Atlantic, I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.
The destiny of the colored American ... is the destiny of America.
The ground which a colored man occupies in this country is, every inch of it, sternly disputed.
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.
Despite of it all, the Negro remains ... cool, strong, imperturbable, and cheerful.
Mr. Abraham Lincoln was not only a great President, but a ''great man'' — too great to be small in anything. In his company I was never in any way reminded of my humble origin, or of my unpopular color.
Frederick Douglass's Biography
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