Opinion

Frederick Douglass, relevant as ever

Douglass
Douglass

President Donald Trump says Frederick Douglass “is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job that is being recognized more and more.”

Douglass, who died 122 years ago, escaped slavery and was a leading abolitionist. We don’t know that he’s being recognized more and more, but we do agree with Trump that he did an amazing job.

Now seems a good time to share some of Douglass’ thoughts. All important, and especially relevant in the age of Trump. Americans might even find some gems upon which they can all agree.

▪ “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

▪ “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.”

▪ “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

▪ “Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.”

▪ “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.”

▪ “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.”

▪ “At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed.”

Taylor Batten is editorial page editor at The Charlotte Observer.

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