Quotes About Slaves: Discovering Wisdom in Stories of Survival and Strength

Quotes about slaves illuminate a somber chapter in human history, bearing witness to the grim reality of slavery.

Rooted in practices that predate recorded history, the origins of slavery prove elusive.

Feel free to share in the comments the quote about slavery that resonates with you the most.

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What Advantages Do These Slave Quotes Offer?

Sociological markers suggest hunter-gatherer societies avoided slavery.

The Code of Hammurabi in Mesopotamia is often seen as the earliest reference to widespread slavery.

It later spread to Sumer, Greece, and China, with individuals entering slavery due to debt, child abandonment, war, or punishment.

Medieval Europe and Asia saw the proliferation of slavery as a trade.

While historical books mark 1619 as the start of the American slave trade in Jamestown, Virginia, this date is debated.

Slavery   Quotes

1. “This is slavery, not to speak one’s thought.” — Euripides


2. “Nevermore shall men make slaves of others!” — Stan Lee


3. “Today as always, men fall into two groups: slaves and free men.” — Friedrich Nietzsche


4. “At first, man was enslaved by the gods. But he broke their chains.” — Ayn Rand, Anthem


5. “Religion can never reform mankind because religion is slavery.” — Robert Green Ingersoll


6. “Frederick Douglass taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom.” — Carl Sagan


7. “Slavery does not merely mean a legalised form of subjection.” — Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar


8. “There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.” — Carl Sagan


9. “Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.” — Henry David Thoreau


10. “Excess of liberty, whether it lies in state or individuals, seems only to pass into excess of slavery.” — Plato


Meaningful slave  Quotes About Being Free

11. “Something must happen, even loveless slavery, even war or death. Hurray then for funerals!” — Albert Camus


12. “A slave is a fallen king whose only hope to live is to one day recover his throne.” — Bangambiki Habyarimana


13. “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” — Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe


14. “But there’s no such thing as free. There are only different and more horrible ways to be enslaved.” — Lauren DeStefano


15. “In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, Make us your slaves, but feed us.” — Fyodor Dostoevsky


16. “The difference between technology and slavery is that slaves are fully aware that they are not free.” — Nassim Nicholas Taleb


17. “The enslaved were not bricks in your road, and their lives were not chapters in your redemptive history.” — Ta-Nehisi Coates


18. “Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves.” — George Gordon Byron

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19. “Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters.” — C. S. Lewis


20. “Then he was enslaved by the kings. But he broke their chains. He was enslaved by his birth, by his kin, by his race. But he broke their chains.” — Ayn Rand, Anthem


Slave Quotes To Make You Think

21. “A plongeur is a slave, and a wasted slave, doing stupid and largely unnecessary work. He is kept at work, ultimately, because of a vague feeling that he would be dangerous if he had leisure.” — George Orwell


22. “It’s not an endlessly expanding list of rights — the ‘right’ to education, the ‘right’ to health care, the

‘right’ to food and housing. That’s not freedom, that’s dependency. Those aren’t rights, those are the rations of slavery — hay and a barn for human cattle.” — Alexis de Tocqueville


23. “Soldiers, don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness!” — Charles Chaplin


24. “I attack the monsters, the phantoms of imagination that have ruled the world. I attack slavery. I ask for room—room for the human mind.” — Robert G. Ingersoll


25. “Whoever does not have two-thirds of his day for himself, is a slave, whatever he may be: a statesman, a businessman, an official, or a scholar.” — Friedrich Nietzsche


26. “Thus, although we are not slaves in name, and cannot be carried to market and sold as somebody else’s legal chattels, we are free only within narrow limits.” — Wendell Berry


27. “Daddy once told me there’s a rage passed down to every black man from his ancestors, born the moment they couldn’t stop the slave masters from hurting their families.” — Angie Thomas


28. “Slavery is such an atrocious debasement of human nature, that its very extirpation, if not performed with solicitous care, may sometimes open a source of serious evils.” — Benjamin Franklin


29. “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 anymore you find you have almost lost the power of forcing yourself.” — C. S. Lewis


30. “Enslavement was not destined to end, and it is wrong to claim our present circumstance—no matter how improved—as the redemption for the lives of people who never asked for the posthumous, untouchable glory of dying for their children.” — Ta-Nehisi Coates


You may also enjoy reading these Abraham Hick Quotes

Slave Quotes From Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, And Muhammed Ali

31. “Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.” ― Abraham Lincoln

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32. “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.”  Abraham Lincoln


33. “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God cannot retain it.” — Abraham Lincoln


34. “I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom, and equality.” — Muhammad Ali


35. “I think slavery is the next thing to hell. If a person would send another into bondage, he would, it appears to me, be bad enough to send him into hell if he could.” — Harriet Tubman


36. “No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over.” — Muhammad Ali


Frederick Douglass Slaves Quotes

37. “Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” — Frederick Douglass


38. “Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy.” — Frederick Douglass

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39. “Slaves are generally expected to sing as well as to work.” — Frederick Douglass


40. “Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave-trade go hand in hand together.” — Frederick Douglass


41. “I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of the land.” — Frederick Douglass


42. “The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears.” — Frederick Douglass


43. “He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery; he must be made to feel that slavery is right; and he can be brought to that only when he ceased to be a man.” — Frederick Douglass


44. “The slave auctioneer’s bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master.” — Frederick Douglass


45. “The slave prison and the church stand near each other. The clanking of fetters and the rattling of chains in the prison, and the pious psalm and solemn prayer in the church, may be heard at the same time.” — Frederick Douglass


46. “I have observed this in my experience of slavery,–that whenever my condition was improved, instead of its increasing my contentment, it only increased my desire to be free and set me to thinking of plans to gain my freedom.” — Frederick Douglass


Slaves  Quotes In America

47. “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?” — Patrick Henry


48. “So long as this country is cursed with slavery, so too will it be cursed with vampires.” — Seth Grahame-Smith

Slaves Quotes In The Bible

49. “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.” — Exodus 21:16


50. “Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so.”  1 Corinthians 7:21

Slavery Has Been Around For A While.

In 1619, slave traders brought Africans to Jamestown, initiating the abhorrent practice of slavery that became foundational to the American economy.

Unique to the U.S. was chattel slavery, which heavily suppressed African culture.

The term “Maafa” in Swahili describes this tragedy, as the American slave trade depleted Africa while building America’s empire.

Descendants of the enslaved persist in overcoming challenges today. Share your resonating slavery quote in the comments below.


Slavery, an ancient global issue, had roots in Mesopotamia, Greece, and China.

The American slave trade, potentially starting in 1619, introduced unique chattel slavery.

Quotes from various sources capture the complexity of this dark history.

The term “Maafa” reflects Africa’s depletion for America’s gain.

Descendants of the enslaved face ongoing challenges. Share your impactful slavery quote below.


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