Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, c. February 1817 or February 1818 – February 20, 1895) was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. He became the most important leader of the movement for African-American civil rights in the 19th century.
Getting a living under capitalism . . . is so precarious, so uncertain, fraught with such pain and struggle that the wonder is not that so many people become vicious and criminal, but that so many remain in docile submission to such a tyrannous and debasing condition.
To say that there is a case for heroes is not to say that there is a case for hero worship. The surrender of decision, the unquestioning submission to leadership, the prostration of the average man before the Great Man — these are the diseases of heroism, and they are fatal to human dignity. . . . History amply shows that it is possible to have heroes without turning them into gods. And history shows, too, that when a society, in flight from hero worship, decides to do without great men at all, it gets into troubles of its own.