Commonplace Book #180

Douglass played the prophetic role of the “suffering servant” with zeal. His famous statement about agitation, delivered in a speech in 1857, has stood the test of time and numerous protest ideologies: “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. 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 demand. It never did and it never will.”

David W. Blight, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, 285-286.