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Black History Month 2017: A Voice from the Past and a Present Reality

We have a new President of our country who introduced the 2017 Black History month with a re-introduction to Frederick Douglass by saying that he “is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job that is being recognized more and more.” Whether or not President Trump knew that Mr. Douglass died 122 years ago, it is good for us to review some of the “amazing” perspectives that Frederick Douglass shared as he escaped slavery to become one of the leading abolitionists of his time. Perhaps his thoughts will have some renewed relevancy in these days.
  • “The law on the side of freedom is of great advantage only when there is power to make that law respected”.
  • “Power and those in control concede nothing … without a demand. They never have and never will… Each and every one of us must keep demanding, must keep fighting, must keep thundering, must keep plowing, must keep on keeping things struggling, must speak out and speak up until justice is served because where there is no justice there is no peace.”
  • “In a composite Nation like ours, made up of almost every variety of the human family, there should be, as before the Law, no rich, no poor, no high, no low, no black, no white, but one country, one citizenship equal rights and a common destiny for all.”
  • “A government that cannot or does not protect the humblest citizen in his right to life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness, should be reformed or overthrown, without delay.”
  • 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. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.
  • “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 persons nor property will be safe.”
  • “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
  • “No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened to his own neck.”
  • “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.”