quotations about slavery
Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech, March 17, 1865
Not only does the Christian religion, but nature herself, cry out against the state of slavery.
POPE LEO X, attributed, Day's Collacon
Anytime anyone is enslaved, or in any way deprived of his liberty, if that person is a human being, as far as I am concerned he is justified to resort to whatever methods necessary to bring about his liberty again.
MALCOLM X, Oxford Union Debate, December 3, 1964
Slavery is theft -- theft of a life, theft of work, theft of any property or produce, theft even of the children a slave might have borne.
KEVIN BALES, Understanding Global Slavery
Not only do I pray for it, on the score of human dignity, but I can clearly foresee that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union, by consolidating it in a common bond of principle.
GEORGE WASHINGTON, attributed, Retrospections of America
So we are all black people, so-called Negroes, second-class citizens, ex-slaves. You are nothing but an ex-slave. You don't like to be told that. But what else are you? You are ex-slaves. You didn't come here on the Mayflower. You came here on a slave ship -- in chains, like a horse, or a cow, or a chicken. And you were brought here by the people who came here on the Mayflower. You were brought here by the so-called Pilgrims, or Founding Fathers. They were the ones who brought you here.
MALCOLM X, Message to the Grass Roots, November 10, 1963
Nature made no man a slave.
ALCIDAMAS, attributed, Day's Collacon
When we acknowledge the kingdom of the self, we will no longer accept slavery either for ourselves or for others, no matter how it is disguised.
GERRY L. SPENCE, From Freedom to Slavery
But one of the worst results of being a slave and being forced to do things is that when there is no one to force you any more you find you have almost lost the power of forcing yourself.
C. S. LEWIS, The Horse and His Boy
As long as the mind is enslaved, the body can never be free. Psychological freedom, a firm sense of self-esteem, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery.
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., speech, August 16, 1967
If there breathe on earth a slave,
Are ye truly free and brave?
If ye do not feel the chain,
When it works a brother's pain,
Are ye not base slaves indeed,
Slaves unworthy to be freed?
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL, "Stanzas on Freedom"
Slavery is no scholar, no improver; it does not love the whistle of the railroad; it does not love the newspaper, the mail-bag, a college, a book or a preacher who has the absurd whim of saying what he thinks; it does not increase the white population; it does not improve the soil; everything goes to decay.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON, speech, August 1, 1844
The fact is, that civilisation requires slaves. The Greeks were quite right there. Unless there are slaves to do the ugly, horrible, uninteresting work, culture and contemplation become almost impossible. Human slavery is wrong, insecure, and demoralizing. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends.
OSCAR WILDE, The Soul of Man Under Socialism
In nothing was slavery so savage and relentless as in its attempted destruction of the family instincts of the Negro race in America. Individuals, not families; shelters, not homes; herding, not marriages, were the cardinal sins in that system of horrors.
FANNIE BARRIER WILLIAMS, Black Women in Nineteenth-Century American Life
Man puts manacles on his fellow-man; God never.
LYMAN ABBOTT, Problems of Life: Selections from the Writings of Rev. Lyman Abbott
Hatred, slavery's inevitable aftermath.
JOSÉ MARTÍ, Woman Suffrage
Slavery can only be abolished by raising the character of the people who compose the nation; and that can be done only by showing them a higher one.
MARIA WESTON CHAPMAN, speech, 1855
If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to A. G. Hodges, April 4, 1864
No one is more of a slave than he who thinks himself free without being so.
JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe
For some slaves, the first step out of bondage is to learn to see their lives with new eyes. Their reality is a social world where they have their place and some assurance of a subsistence diet. Born into slavery, they cannot easily redefine their lives outside the frame of enslavement.
KEVIN BALES, Understanding Global Slavery