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This triggered his writing instinct, and Douglass continued his literary work along with his fight for women's rights, emancipation, and suffrage.

Frederick Douglass

People all over the world still remember Frederick Douglass through his evergreen quotations and sayings. We give you a glance at some of them. Inspiring Quotes by Frederick Douglass. 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.

Indeed, I can see no reason, but the most deceitful one, for calling the religion of this land Christianity. I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels. I have ever found them the meanest and basest, the most cruel and cowardly, of all others. Here, appetite, not food, is the great desideratum.

But my rapture is soon checked, my joy is soon turned to mourning. When I remember that all is cursed with the infernal spirit of slaveholding, robbery and wrong, - when I remember that with the waters of her noblest rivers, the tears of my brethren are borne to the ocean, disregarded and forgotten, and that her most fertile fields drink daily of the warm blood of my outraged sisters, I am filled with unutterable loathing.

Slavery does away with fathers, as it does away with families. Crying for joy, and singing for joy, were alike uncommon to me while in the jaws of slavery.

Frederick Douglass education quotes

The singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave; the songs of the one and of the other are prompted by the same emotion. We, who have God and conscience on our side, have a majority against the universe. It never did and it never will. 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.

I had not then learned the measure of "man's inhumanity to man," nor to what limitless extent of wickedness he will go for the love of gain. I have had fifty years of it, and yet I have not lost either heart or hope. They can be angels, or they may be demons. In the apocalyptic vision, John describes a war in heaven.

However, as time passed, the ill effects of the system of slavery began to blight her previously-virtuous personality. When her husband forbids her to teach Douglass to read - citing Douglass would become unmanageable but also unhappy with such knowledge - Sophia's newfound authority over another began to corrupt her. She became critical, harsh, fickle, and controlling. She grew into her position as a slaveholder and began to relish the absolute power she held over her young slave. Douglass includes lines such as this to indicate to his readers how utterly abhorrent slavery was to all it touched.

Douglass was not particularly close to many members of his family, but he did have a relationship with his grandmother. Although what he relates about her fate could very well have happened to many an elderly slave, Douglass's rage at what happened to his own maternal grandmother is very personal.

He is in disbelief at how the Anthony family could have forgotten her dedicated years of care and simply turn her out into the forest, alone and incapable of supporting herself. Not only had she spent her entire life in shackles, she is now left to die alone, bereft of companionship and sustenance. Her humanity was completed ignored by her cruel masters; she was given no heed or thought as a person who was worthy of care. This example of the base meanness of slaveholders serves as one of the most melancholy moments in Douglass's Narrative.

Covey succeeded in breaking me. 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; the dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into a brute! Until this point, Douglass had retained much of his individuality in the bonds of servitude. While at Lloyd's farm he did not have many duties and was not often afflicted with beatings or oppression.


In Baltimore he spent time out in the city, made friends, had enough to eat, and taught himself how to read and write. As he grew older, however, he lamented how learning only made him more miserable, especially during periods where he had some sense of freedom and leisure. At Covey's farm he had neither; here he experienced his nadir - his lowest, basest, most dehumanizing experience within a lifetime of slavery.

This is the moment before the climax, of course; Douglass would eventually find the strength to resist Covey and succeed in asserting his manhood. However, while he was with Covey he typified the experience of many slaves. He did not use his intellect, his body was not his own, he was devoid of happiness and hope, and he lost sight of his personality and individuality. Covey was thus quite successful as a breaker of slaves, at least until Douglass finally fought back. This passage remains one of the darkest moments in Douglass's life.

You move merrily before the gentle gale, and I sadly before the bloody whip! You are freedom's swift-winged angels, that fly round the world; I am confined in bands of iron! O that I were free! In this highly sentimental passage, Douglass offers a literary performance for his readers.

Cruz adds ‘context’ after Kaepernick quotes from Frederick Douglass ‘Fourth of July’ speech

Obviously this event has been embellished and inflated for the readers of his book; he would not have stood at the prow of the ship and uttered such words. His rhetoric, tone, and sentiment are supposed to rouse the emotions of his 19th-century readers. They are affected and artificial and strike the modern reader as unnecessary, but they would have resonated with contemporary readers.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Quotes and Analysis

It was a speech that clearly pointed to the fact that the autobiography was composed in his adult years. It also evinced a very educated and highbrow rhetorical style that seemingly left the slave dialect behind. However, there is somewhat of a larger point here: Douglass was using a style of speaking and writing that white America had long denied him or thought him even intellectually capable of possessing.

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Covey's course toward me form an epoch in my humble history. You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.

Memorable Quotations from American Abolitionists

Douglass's refusal to allow Covey to brutally beat him anymore constitutes the climax of the autobiography. Through his physical refusal to be dominated, Douglass achieves a new definition of self and a new consciousness and resolve. Slavery consists of physical as well as mental bondage, and Douglass sloughs off the physical bondage of Covey.

He demonstrates that his indomitable will and desire to be free is more powerful than slavery.

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  7. He firmly believed that he was no longer truly a slave after this episode. In this passage Covey is figured as larger-than-life, as representative of slavery as a system. He embodied the worst elements of slavery. If so, let us petition for this impartial justice for women. In order to insure this equal justice should the females of New York, like the males, have a voice in appointing the law makers and the law administrators? If so, let us petition for Woman's Right to Suffrage.

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