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10 Frederick Douglass Quotes Still Incredibly Relevant Today

Frederick Douglass (Feb. 14, 1817 – Feb. 20, 1895) was an African-American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. Douglass escaped from slavery and subsequently became a leader of the abolitionist movement, known for his dazzling oratory and powerful antislavery writings — a living rejection of the racist argument that enslaved Black people lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens.

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The Relationship Between Struggle and Progress

This is one of Douglass’ most oft-repeated quotes, one that seems always relevant to the Black community: “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.”

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The Nature of Power

Douglass spent time watching and advising powerful men, and wielded considerable power himself. He understood that “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

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