In the Words of Frederick Douglass

In the Words of Frederick Douglass: Quotations from Liberty’s Champion

Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    In the Words of Frederick Douglass
    Book Description:

    Frederick Douglass, a runaway Maryland slave, was witness to and participant in some of the most important events in the history of the American Republic between the years of 1818 and 1895. Beginning his long public career in 1841 as an agent of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, Douglass subsequently edited four newspapers and championed many reform movements. An advocate of morality, economic accumulation, self-help, and equality, Douglass supported racial pride, constant agitation against racial discrimination, vocational education for blacks, and nonviolent passive resistance.

    He was the only man who played a prominent role at the 1848 meeting in Seneca Falls that formally launched the women's rights movement. He was a temperance advocate and opposed capital punishment, lynching, debt peonage, and the convict lease system. A staunch defender of the Liberty and Republican parties, Douglass held several political appointments, frequently corresponded with leading politicians, and advised Presidents Lincoln, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, and Harrison. He met with John Brown before his abortive raid on Harpers Ferry, helped to recruit African American troops during the Civil War, attended most national black conventions held between 1840 and 1895, and served as U.S. ambassador to Haiti.

    Frederick Douglass has left one of the most extensive bodies of significant and quotable public statements of any figure in American history. In the Words of Frederick Douglass is a rich trove of quotations from Douglass. The editors have compiled nearly seven hundred quotations by Douglass that demonstrate the breadth and strength of his intellect as well as the eloquence with which he expressed his political and ethical principles.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6370-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-xvi)
    John Stauffer

    The canonization of Frederick Douglass is a relatively new phenomenon. Most Americans today under the age of thirty read Douglass in high school or college and they are familiar with his life story and contributions to American culture. By contrast, most white Americans over the age of fifty—including Ivy League graduates—barely know who Douglass is. They have not read him and often confuse his name with Stephen Douglas, the Illinois senator best remembered for his debates with Abraham Lincoln. This ignorance among older Americans is striking given Douglass’s popularity in the nineteenth century. Following the extraordinary success of...

    (pp. xvii-xxiv)
    John R. McKivigan and Heather L. Kaufman
  5. INTRODUCTION: A Life of Reform
    (pp. 1-42)

    In March 1895, the twenty-seven year-old, newly appointed professor at Wilberforce College in Ohio, W. E. B. DuBois, was invited to address a campus service commemorating the recent death of Frederick Douglass. DuBois had heard Douglass speak only once, but like most African Americans of his generation, he was very familiar with his exploits. He eulogized Douglass as a true statesman, “a man who being in a position to lead, leads.” DuBois singled out Douglass’s accomplishments: a powerful voice for the abolition of slavery, a successful lobbyist for the enlistment of black soldiers in the Civil War, and an uncompromising...

    (pp. 43-46)


    Born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey in February at Holme Hill Farm, Talbot County, Md.


    Douglass sent to live with Hugh Auld’s family in Baltimore.


    Master loans Douglass to Thomas Auld at St. Michaels, Md.


    Douglass spends a year as a fieldhand hired out to Edward Covey, Talbot County “slave breaker.”


    After Douglass’s unsuccessfully attempts to escape, he is returned to Hugh Auld in Baltimore.


    On September 3, Douglass departs Baltimore on a successful escape attempt to the North. He marries Anna Murray in New York City on September 15, and the couple settles in...

    (pp. 47-238)

    The real and only-to-be-relied-on movement for the abolition of slavery in this country, and throughout the world, is a great moral and religious movement. The work of which is, the enlightenment of the public mind, the quickening and enlightening of the dead conscience of the nation into life, and to a sense of the gross injustice, fraud, wrong and inhumanity of enslaving their fellow-men,—the fixing in the soul of the nation an invincible abhorrence of the whole system of slaveholding; and begetting in it a firm and inflexible determination to rid itself of its guiltiness in the matter. My...

    (pp. 239-244)
    (pp. 245-248)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 249-256)