Frederick Douglass Quotes: Master of His Fate – Values of the Wise (2023)

Frederick Douglass Quotes: Master of His Fate – Values of the Wise (1)
Frederick Douglass

You are interested in Frederick Douglass quotes, and you have come to the right place.

Daniel L. Katz, in the interesting book Why Freedom Matters, quotes the letter escaped slave and then-abolitionist Frederick Douglass wrote to his former master, Thomas Auld. He writes: “For audacious correspondence, it’s hard to beat Frederick Douglass’ (1815-1895) letter to his former master.” He ain’t lyin’! This is one of the most interesting things I have ever read. If you are interested in rare or unique Frederick Douglass quotes, you’ve come to the right place.Think about it: a slave endures the full measure of cruelty that was the custom of the upper class in the South for hundreds of years, then bravely escapes, makes his way north, evades capture, learns to read, marries, has four children, becomes a great writer, and grows into one of the most famous, eloquent, and forceful abolitionists. Below are the Frederick Douglass quotesthat are the most interesting of the entire, long letter.

It can sting and evoke shame in me, a white person – and one whose maternal side did some slaveholding (I once saw a receipt my second cousin had retained that referred to “Five hundred dollars for James, a negro boy.” I also think about the culture of the South, where I live, and not only look back with repugnance on how things used to be, but see the remnants still. More than a fewconservatives cannot easily make the connection between then and now; it flies in the face of their worldview which holds that things are relatively fair now and that the past is no real influence on the present. They wish to believe that it is an even playing field, and that we have overcome the vast majority of our inequalities and systemic barriers to success. They tend to see the disenfranchised as more or less deserving of their fate. Such is the view of rugged individualism and the Horatio Alger myth that they are guided by. I’m not trying to be insulting, just stating how I see it.

(Video) Top-50 Frederick Douglass Quotes || Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Quotes

I know they would argue I misunderstand, but when they sometimes miss the salient facts, such as imprisonment, the drug war, what rioting means, the nature of social welfare, disparities in health and income and wealth and education, and the disintegrated family, the proof is in the pudding, as it were. I see a clear line between acts of barbarity and cruelty and elitism perpetrated against Native Americans, African slaves, Chinese laborers, and virtually every ethnicity ofimmigrant. It is disheartening but enlightening to read first-hand Frederick Douglass quotes from this letter in which he recounts what he experienced, his meteoric rise to nobility, and his choice words forCaptain Auld.

We ought to remember, and really grasp, what social justice means and take a good look at how the country is dealing with race. The rise of the radical right and the disgruntled white majority since Trump’s campaign (and to some degree, the advent of the Tea Party) is serious business that should draw the attention of every center-left individual. It is quite possible that America has not changed as much as the owning class and the masses of center-right whites would like to believe. One thing is true, though, and that is that then, as now, the lines can very easily be drawn not vertically – between different races and religions and locations and lifestyles – but horizontally – between those who own capital and have power, and those who do not. That is a reasonable theory as to why white Americans feel resentment as the number of non-whites grows and the country faces stark economic changes. Those who do notremember the pastare doomed to repeat it, the great philosopher George Santayana wrote.

And now, the Frederick Douglass quotes from his letter dated September 8th, 1848:

Since I left you, I have had a rich experience. I have occupied stations which I never dreamed of when a slave. Three out of the 10 years since I left you, I spent as a common laborer on the wharves of New Bedford, Massachusetts. It was there I earned my first dollar. It was mine. I could spend it as I pleased. That was a precious dollar to me. You remember when I use to make seven or eight, or even nine dollars a week in Baltimore; you would take every cent of it from me every Saturday night, saying that since I belonged to you, my earnings did also.

(Video) Frederick Douglass: From Slave to Statesman

You, sir, can never know my feelings. As I look back on them, I can scarcely realize that I have passed through a scene so trying. Bad as they were, and gloomy as was the prospect, thanks to the Most High, who is ever the God of the oppressed, at the moment which was to determine my whole earthly career, His grace was sufficient; my mind was made up. I embraced the golden opportunity, took the morning tide at the flood, a free man – young, active, and strong – is the result.

I have selected this day on which to address you because it is the anniversary of my emancipation; and knowing no better way, I am led to this is the best mode of celebrating that truly important event. Just 10 years ago this beautiful September morning, yon bright sun beheld me a slave – a poor, degraded chattel – trembling at the sound of your voice, lamenting that I was a man, and wishing myself a brute.

At this moment, you are probably the guilty holder of at least three of my own dear sisters, and my only brother, in bondage. These you regard as your property. They are recorded on your ledger, or perhaps been sold to human flesh-mongers, with a view to filling your own ever-hungry purse. Sir, I desire to know how and where my dear sisters are. Have you sold them? or are they still in your possession? What has become of them? Are they living or dead? In my dear old grandmother, whom you turned out like an old horse to die in the woods— is she still alive?

You’ve kept [my sisters] in utter ignorance, and have therefore robbed them of the sweet enjoyments of writing or receiving letters from absent friends and relatives. Your wickedness and cruelty, committed in this respect on your fellow-creatures, are greater than all the stripes you’ve laid upon my back or theirs. It is an outrage upon the soul, a war upon the immortal spirit, and one for which you must give account at the bar of our common Father and Creator.

(Video) Frederick Douglass: Images & Words

Check out this scintillating example of Frederick Douglass quotes: Sir, a slaveholder never appears to me so completely an agent of hell, as when I think of and look upon my dear children. It is then that my feelings rise beyond my control.

The three oldest of my children are now going regularly to school— two can read and write, and the other can spell words of two syllables. Dear fellows! they are all in comfortable beds, and are sound asleep, perfectly secure under my own roof. There are no slaveholders here to rend my heart by snatching them from my arms, or blast a mother’s dearest hopes by tearing them from her bosom.

The transition from degradation to respectability was great indeed, and to get from one to the other without carrying some marks of one’s former condition is truly a difficult matter.

I had not long enjoyed the excellent society to which I have referred before the light of its excellence exerted a beneficial influence upon my mind and heart. Much of my early dislike of white persons was removed, for their manners, habits, and customs, so entirely unlike what I had been used to in the kitchen-quarters on the plantations of the South, fairly charmed me, gave me a strong dislike for the coarse and degrading customs of my former condition.

(Video) Strike For Freedom: Frederick Douglass in Scotland

After remaining in New Bedford for three years, I met with William Lloyd Garrison, a person of whom you have possibly heard, as he is pretty generally known among slaveholders. He put into my head that I might make myself serviceable to the cause of the slave by devoting a portion of my time to telling my own sorrows, and those of other slaves, which had come under my observation. This was the commencement of a higher state of existence any to which I had ever aspired.

I intend to make use of you as a weapon with which to assail the system of slavery— as a means of concentrating public attention on the system and deepening the horror of trafficking in the souls and bodies of men. I shall make use of you as a means of exposing the character the American church and clergy— as a means of bringing this guilty nation, with yourself, to repentance.

I hope you enjoyed these Frederick Douglass quotes. More quotes by him or by other abolitionists and additional proponents of justice, human rights, and liberty can be found in the Wisdom Archive. Free, as always. Enjoy.

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(Video) frederick douglass quotes | Powerful Frederick Douglass quotes that’ll open your eyes!!!

FAQs

What was Frederick Douglass most famous quote? ›

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.

What were Frederick Douglass values? ›

Douglass's belief in the evil of slavery, universal human brotherhood, and the inevitability of human development, as well as his observation of the mixing of the so-called races in the United States, led his to support racial amalgamation.

What are 3 important things Frederick Douglass did? ›

Here is a list of 10 amazing facts about the social reformer.
  • He taught himself how to read and write. ...
  • He helped other slaves become literate. ...
  • He fought a 'slavebreaker' ...
  • He escaped from slavery in a disguise. ...
  • He took his name from a famous poem. ...
  • He travelled to Britain to avoid re-enslavement. ...
  • He advocated women's rights.
20 Jan 2021

What are some direct quotes from Frederick Douglass? ›

#4 “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.” #3 “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” #2 “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

What was Frederick Douglass main point in his speech? ›

In this Independence Day oration, Douglass sought to persuade those people to embrace what was then considered the extreme position of abolition. He also sought to change minds about the abilities and intelligence of African Americans.

What are Douglass three keys to success in life? ›

Frederick Douglass Embodied Three Keys for Success in Life: Believe in yourself, Take advantage of every opportunity, Use the power of spoken and written language to effect positive change for yourself and society.

What was Stephen Douglas famous quotes? ›

Every man must be for the United States or against it. There can be no neutrals in this war; only patriots and traitors.

What was Douglass adopted motto? ›

The motto which I adopted when I started from slavery was this—"Trust no man!" I saw in every white man an enemy, and in almost every colored man cause for distrust.

What are the most important ideas of Frederick Douglass? ›

Frederick Douglass was a formerly enslaved man 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.

What was the philosophy of Frederick Douglass? ›

Douglass was one of the foremost defenders of black emancipation and women's rights. He developed a dual philosophy of resistance and integration. He taxed blacks with the need for self‐reliance; he recalled whites to the justice of racial equality.

What lesson did Frederick Douglass learn? ›

Douglass narrative teaches about self-determination and courage. Despite the suffering he underwent under different slave-masters including in Covey's hand, he did not lose hope. He was determined to escape whether it meant losing his life. It is this determination that would help slaves overcome the unending slavery.

What was Frederick Douglass's greatest strength? ›

He was, however, one master who worked with his hands and thus knew what kind of work each slave could endure. His sneakiness and ability to deceive were his strengths to the degree that Douglass thinks Covey may have fooled himself into believing that he was a religious person.

What is unique about Frederick Douglass? ›

Douglass was the first African American to receive a vote for president at a major political party convention. The vote came from the Kentucky delegation during the Republican National Convention of 1888.

What did Frederick Douglass do to abolish slavery? ›

In Rochester, Douglass took his work in new directions. He embraced the women's rights movement, helped people on the Underground Railroad, and supported anti-slavery political parties. Once an ally of William Lloyd Garrison and his followers, Douglass started to work more closely with Gerrit Smith and John Brown.

What was Frederick Douglass's first speech? ›

Frederick Douglass gave one of his first recorded anti-slavery speeches in Hingham on November 4, 1841, before the Plymouth County Anti-Slavery Society. Titled “The Church and Prejudice,” it criticized ministers who used the Bible to defend slavery.

What were three of Douglass character traits? ›

The main character traits that can be observed in Frederick are self-confidence, emotional stability and selflessness; this paper discusses three leadership personality traits portrayed by the leader.

What was Frederick Douglass greatest legacy? ›

Frederick Douglass' most important legacy was the use of his words to fight for the freedom and rights of African Americans.

What does Frederick hope to gain by learning how do you read? ›

Fredrick hopes to gain Freedom by learning to read. Who teaches Frederick why black men are not taught to read,and why is this lesson so important? Mr. Auld which causes him to realize that education & knowledge can get him to freedom.

What did Lincoln say about Stephen Douglas? ›

"I suppose that the real difference between Judge Douglas and his friends, and the Republicans on the contrary, is that the Judge is not in favor of making any difference between slavery and liberty...and consequently every sentiment he utters discards the idea that there is any wrong in slavery," Lincoln said.

What issue did Stephen A Douglas believe? ›

Douglas. Stephen A. Douglas (1813-1861) was a U.S. politician, leader of the Democratic Party, and orator who espoused the cause of popular sovereignty in relation to the issue of slavery in the territories before the American Civil War (1861-1865).

What is Stephen King's quote? ›

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” “you can, you should, and if you're brave enough to start, you will.” “I think that we're all mentally ill. Those of us outside the asylums only hide it a little better - and maybe not all that much better after all.”

Which three words does Douglass use to describe Mr Gore? ›

Gore was "cruel, artful, and obdurate." What are the examples that Douglass gives for each of these adjectives about Mr.

What does the root symbolize in Frederick Douglass? ›

Sandy's Root

In fact, Douglass states in a footnote that Sandy's belief in the root is “superstitious” and typical of the more ignorant slave population. In this regard, the root stands as a symbol of a traditional African approach to religion and belief.

What motto did Douglass adopt in the Free State Why? ›

What motto did Douglass adopt in the free state. Why? Because of his horrible past with tyrannical white men, Douglass adopted the motto "Trust no man." He saw every white man as an enemy because of his the hatred whites bestowed upon blacks. He saw all colored people as cause for distrust as well.

What motivated Douglass the most to learn to read and write? ›

In his autobiography, Douglass writes how the wife of one of his owners, Sophia Auld, was teaching him to read when her husband stopped her lessons and rebuked her. This gave Douglass the idea that if slave owners wanted to prevent something from happening, it was desirable for slaves to learn to do that thing.

How did Frederick Douglass control his fate? ›

Frederick Douglass was fortunate enough to escape the nightmare that is slavery and lay the path of his future. It was this life changing action that allowed him to take ownership of his destiny. He avoided a toilsome and miserable life in slavery and sought to save others from it too.

Why was it so important to Douglass that he learn to read? ›

As an illiterate slave, Douglass felt he was completely at the mercy of his master, his only knowledge of the world coming from the man who had absolute power over him. However, becoming literate would give Douglass new power that would challenge his master's control over him.

Why was it so important for Frederick Douglass to learn to read? ›

Learning how to read was important to Douglass life because he started to figure out how to read newspapers and books when he was left alone. This led him to discover what many slaves went through and the hate people in the south had towards them.…

Why is it important that Frederick Douglass learned to read? ›

In his experience, he believes that learning to read and write is his way to relieve his pain about “being a slave for life.” He quickly finds out that reading and writing are the only ways he can be free from slavery. Douglass explains that his mistress stops teaching him after her husband told her not to do so.

What was Frederick Douglass's first speech? ›

Frederick Douglass gave one of his first recorded anti-slavery speeches in Hingham on November 4, 1841, before the Plymouth County Anti-Slavery Society. Titled “The Church and Prejudice,” it criticized ministers who used the Bible to defend slavery.

What was Douglass adopted motto? ›

The motto which I adopted when I started from slavery was this—"Trust no man!" I saw in every white man an enemy, and in almost every colored man cause for distrust.

What was Douglass's motto when he started from slavery? ›

“The motto which I adopted when I started from slavery was this- 'Trust no man! '”

What did Douglass hope to achieve from his speech? ›

Douglass believed that freedom of speech was essential to abolitionism. Douglass believed that his own path to freedom had begun with his own literacy, and he was convinced that the spread of literacy and the exercise of freedom of speech and assembly was essential to the success of abolitionism.

What did Frederick Douglass stand for and believe in? ›

Frederick Douglass was a formerly enslaved man 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.

What does Frederick Douglass say about freedom? ›

In December 1860, the great American orator and former slave Frederick Douglass delivered one of his finest speeches, “A Plea for Free Speech in Boston.” In it, he boldly declared that “liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one's thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist.”

Which three words does Douglass use to describe Mr Gore? ›

Gore was "cruel, artful, and obdurate." What are the examples that Douglass gives for each of these adjectives about Mr.

What did Frederick Douglass promise? ›

Douglass embodied the promise of American liberty (though he had to survive, fight, and flee to achieve it), and would surely juxtapose the freedom and equality of the North to the wretched oppression of the South.

What does the root symbolize in Frederick Douglass? ›

Sandy's Root

In fact, Douglass states in a footnote that Sandy's belief in the root is “superstitious” and typical of the more ignorant slave population. In this regard, the root stands as a symbol of a traditional African approach to religion and belief.

What motto did Douglass adopt in the Free State Why? ›

What motto did Douglass adopt in the free state. Why? Because of his horrible past with tyrannical white men, Douglass adopted the motto "Trust no man." He saw every white man as an enemy because of his the hatred whites bestowed upon blacks. He saw all colored people as cause for distrust as well.

What is Douglass's message? ›

Douglass stated that the nation's founders were great men for their ideals of freedom. But in doing so he brings awareness to the hypocrisy of their ideals by the existence of slavery on American soil.

What did Frederick Douglass say in his speech about slavery? ›

I shall see, this day, and its popular characteristics, from the slave's point of view. Standing, there, identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July!

Videos

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2. Frederick Douglass's Quotes which are better known in early age to not to Regret in old Age !
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3. Frederick Douglass - Self Made Men Speech - 1874 - Hear the Text
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5. The Lincoln Lectures — Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln
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6. The Legacies of Frederick Douglass in Our Own Time
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