I Prayed That God Would Emancipate Me, But It Was Not Till I Prayed With My Legs That I Was Emancipated

Frederick Douglass? Richard Theodore Greener? Samuel Byron Brittan? Rufus K. Noyes? James Clear? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: You must be willing to take constructive actions to resolve your own problems. If you rely solely on the help of others you will be disheartened. Also, if you depend solely on supernatural intervention you will be disappointed.

The great orator Frederick Douglass provided a cogent anecdote. When he was held in bondage he frequently prayed for freedom. Yet, he only achieved freedom when he took action and prayed with his legs, i.e., he successfully ran away.

I am having trouble finding solid citations for this tale. Would you please help?

Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared within a speech delivered by Frederick Douglass in 1859 at the annual meeting of the “Friends of Human Progress” held in Waterloo, New York. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

We want practical religion—religion that will do something. When I commenced praying with my legs, I felt the answer coming down.

See the 1876 citation further below for a pertinent excerpt from a later speech by Frederick Douglass. Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading I Prayed That God Would Emancipate Me, But It Was Not Till I Prayed With My Legs That I Was Emancipated

Notes:

  1. 1859, Proceedings of the Yearly Meeting of the Friends of Human Progress, Held at Waterloo, Seneca Co., N.Y., the 3d, 4th and 5th of June, 1859, Second Day, (Description of speech by Frederick Douglass), Quote Page 8, Press of C. W. Hebard & Company, Rochester, New York. (Google Books Full View) link

I Have Seen Dark Hours in My Life, and I Have Seen the Darkness Gradually Disappearing and the Light Gradually Increasing

Frederick Douglass? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The famous anti-slavery orator Frederick Douglass once stated that society was slowly improving. He believed that he was seeing “the darkness gradually disappearing and the light gradually increasing”. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: On October 22, 1890 “The Evening Star” newspaper of Washington D. C. reported on a speech delivered by Frederick Douglass at the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church on the previous night. His concluding words looked to the future with an element of optimism engendered by a religious outlook. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

I have seen dark hours in my life, and I have seen the darkness gradually disappearing and the light gradually increasing. One by one I have seen obstacles removed, errors corrected, prejudices softened, proscriptions relinquished, and my people advancing in all the elements that go to make up the sum of general welfare. And I remember that God reigns in eternity, and that whatever delays, whatever disappointments and discouragements may come, truth, justice, liberty and humanity will ultimately prevail.

Below are additional selected citations and comments.

Continue reading I Have Seen Dark Hours in My Life, and I Have Seen the Darkness Gradually Disappearing and the Light Gradually Increasing

Notes:

  1. 1890 October 22, The Evening Star, White Man and Negro: A Characteristic Speech by Hon. Fred Douglass, Quote Page 9, Column 3, Washington, D. C. (Newspapers_com)

Ballot Box, Jury Box, Cartridge Box

Frederick Douglass? Stephen Decatur Miller? Woody Jenkins? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: A prominent public speaker once asserted that the preservation of liberty depended on three boxes:

The ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.

This statement employed metonymy: the “ballot box” referred to input from the populace via the electoral process; the “jury box” referred to oversight via the judicial process; and the cartridge box referred to control via firearms.

This saying has been attributed to the famous anti-slavery orator Frederick Douglass. Also, the Governor of South Carolina Stephen Decatur Miller has received credit. Would you please explore the expression’s provenance?

Quote Investigator: The earliest strong match located by QI appeared in the “Niles’ Weekly Register” on October 9, 1830. Stephen Decatur Miller had recently delivered a speech in the Sumter district of South Carolina which included the following. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

There are three and only three ways, to reform our congressional legislation. The representative, judicial and belligerent principle alone can be relied on; or as they are more familiarly called, the ballot box, the jury box and the cartouch box. The two first are constitutional, the last revolutionary.

The word “cartouch” is an alternative spelling of “cartouche” which is a cartridge for firearms. Many other commentators have used variants of this expression over the years. Frederick Douglass employed an instance by 1863, and details are given below.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Ballot Box, Jury Box, Cartridge Box

Notes:

  1. 1830 October 9, Niles’ Weekly Register, Edited by H. Niles, Volume 39, Number 7, Governor Miller of South Carolina (Extracts from speech by Miller at a late celebration in Sumter district, South Carolina), Start Page 117, Quote Page 118, Published by H. Niles & Son, Baltimore, Maryland. (Google Books Full View) link