It is easier to build strong men, than to repair broken ones.
Without Struggle There Is No Success
Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy. 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.
A gentleman will not insult me, and no man not a gentleman can insult me.
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.
The American people have this to learn: that 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 person nor property is safe.
Slaves are generally expected to sing as well as to work.
It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.
I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.
Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.
The white man's happiness cannot be purchased by the black man's misery.
People might not get all they work for in this world, but they must certainly work for all they get.
Without a struggle, there can be no progress.
I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.
Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.
Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.
I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress.
At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed.
A little learning, indeed, may be a dangerous thing, but the want of learning is a calamity to any people.
One and God make a majority.
The soul that is within me no man can degrade.
Fugitive slaves were rare then, and as a fugitive slave lecturer, I had the advantage of being the first one out.
When men sow the wind it is rational to expect that they will reap the whirlwind.
Man's greatness consists in his ability to do and the proper application of his powers to things needed to be done.
A battle lost or won is easily described, understood, and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation, to appreciate it.
The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion.
Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.
I didn't know I was a slave until I found out I couldn't do the things I wanted.
We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.
Everybody has asked the question, and they learned to ask it early of the abolitionists, 'What shall we do with the Negro?' I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us.
I recognize the Republican party as the sheet anchor of the colored man's political hopes and the ark of his safety.
America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future.
A man's character always takes its hue, more or less, from the form and color of things about him.
The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.
Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.
I could, as a free man, look across the bay toward the Eastern Shore where I was born a slave.
What to the Slave is the 4th of July.
You are not judged by the height you have risen, but from the depth you have climbed.