Quotes

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Quotes

Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.

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

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

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.

The slave auctioneer’s bell and the church bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heartbroken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master.

I have often been awakened at the dawn of day by the most heart-rending shrieks of an own aunt of mine, whom they were breaking into the field.

You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.

Man’s greatness consists in his ability to do and the proper application of his powers to things needed to be done.

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.

The white children could tell their ages. I could not tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege.

I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing. It had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy.

I was broken in body, soul, and spirit. My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect languished, the disposition to read departed, the cheerful spark that lingered about my eye died.

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

I assert most unhesitatingly, that the religion of the south is a mere covering for the most horrid crimes.

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.

Without a struggle, there can be no progress.

Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy.

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.

I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.

I whipped my own blood. Tears were my meat, day and night was my drink.

I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it.

To make a contented slave it is necessary to make a thoughtless one.

It was this everlasting thinking of my condition that tormented me.

You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.

The religion of the south is a mere covering for the most horrid crimes.

The white children could tell their ages. I could not tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege.

I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us.

I have often been awakened at the dawn of day by the most heart-rending shrieks of an own aunt of mine.

I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one.

I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing.

I have observed this in my experience of slavery, – that whenever my condition was improved, it only increased my desire to be free.

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

I assert most unhesitatingly, that the religion of the south is a mere covering for the most horrid crimes.

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.

Without a struggle, there can be no progress.

I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.

I whipped my own blood. Tears were my meat, day and night was my drink.

I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it.

To make a contented slave it is necessary to make a thoughtless one.

It was this everlasting thinking of my condition that tormented me.

You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.

The religion of the south is a mere covering for the most horrid crimes.

The white children could tell their ages. I could not tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege.

I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us.

I have often been awakened at the dawn of day by the most heart-rending shrieks of an own aunt of mine.

I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one.

I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing.

I could remember the Sunday morning when I heard him read the wickedness and cruelty of slavery.

I often found myself regretting my own existence, and wishing myself dead.

Like a bird in the wide firmament, I am free.


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