When we were putting together our recent holiday series, we just had too many great quotes to choose from, so we kept this one in mind for today.
— Frederick Douglass
While this sentiment can easily be taken metaphorically, Douglass also meant it literally. Taught to read by his master's wife, he continued to educate himself in secret, and eventually passed that knowledge on to dozens of other slaves in the area.
The eloquence of Douglass's writing and speaking was integral to increasing support for both the abolition of slavery and the women's suffrage movement. And Douglass took full advantage of his freedom once he had it; based on the success of his autobiography, he traveled extensively throughout Europe and the northern United States. He was even the first African American nominated for the vice presidency of the U.S. in 1872, though he never formally accepted the nomination or campaigned for the office.