Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate 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, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages and make no resistance, either moral or physical. Men may not get all they pay for in this world, but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others.
On August 3, 1857, Frederick Douglass delivered a “West India Emancipation” speech at Canandaigua, New York, on the twenty-third anniversary of the event. Most of the address was a history of British efforts toward emancipation as well as a reminder of the crucial role of the West Indian slaves in that own freedom struggle. However shortly after he began Douglass sounded a foretelling of the coming Civil War when he uttered two paragraphs that became the most quoted sentences of all of his public orations. They began with the words, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” The entire speech appears below.
This is the quote that Ginetta Candelario brings up in her TEDxTalk that I posted and is being reblogged right now.
I’m just going to casually mention the fact that this is a Black, formerly enslaved, person from the US tying the struggle for freedom in the Caribbean to that of enslaved Africans in the US in 1857. All the while offering a stunning and (for me at least) utterly moving read of how power works.
28 Notes/ Hide
- marchoftigers likes this
- fideliterflorae likes this
- markishajubilee reblogged this from nethilia
- laughingacademy likes this
- animusexformo likes this
- nethilia reblogged this from karnythia
- soulsentwined likes this
- hidinginthesleevesofmycoat likes this
- vivelavapeur reblogged this from karnythia
- anotherwordformyth likes this
- mumbstheword reblogged this from wrcsolace
- becomingpeople likes this
- thebluestblue reblogged this from karnythia
- the-nomadic-writer likes this
- thedisreputabledog likes this
- mewl-moved likes this
- attackofopportunity likes this
- sistermurbella likes this
- leidis likes this
- serendipityschild likes this
- irresistible-revolution likes this
- karnythia reblogged this from wrcsolace
- wrcsolace posted this