At the memorial for William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, the one time slave and friend of Garrison’s, though long estranged from him, reminded us of this, important for all who grow tired trying to right the wrong.

The world has seen many heroes, some who have founded empires, some who have overthrown governments, some who have with their strong arms and broad swords hewed their way to power, fame and fortune. There have been great Bishops, great Kings, great Generals, and great Statesmen; but these great ones for the most part owed their greatness to circumstances apart from themselves. Our great Bishops have had great Churches behind them, our great rulers, great nations behind them, our great Generals, great armies behind them. Their light was brilliant but borrowed. It was not so with the great man whose memory we celebrate
to-night. He owed nothing to his early surroundings. He was born to poverty, to labor and to hardship. He was his own counsellor, his own guide and his own college. He stood among the learned and great of his day by his own exertion. He moved not with the tide, but against it. He rose not by the power of the Church or the State, but in bold, inflexible and defiant opposition to the mighty power of both. It was the glory of this man that he could stand alone with the truth, and calmly await the result. He went forth a slender youth, as we all know, without purse, without scrip, without friends and without fame, to battle with a system of boundless wealth and power. He had faith in the simple truth and faith in
himself. He was unusually modest and retiring in his disposition; but his zeal was like fire, and his courage like steel, and during all his fifty years of service, in sunshine and storm, no doubt or fear as to the final result, ever shook his manly breast or caused him to swerve an inch from the right
line of principle.

No wonder that in their moral blindness men called him a fanatic and a madman, for against such overwhelming odds it was thought that nothing but madness would venture to contend. But there was nothing of madness in the composition of William Lloyd Garrison, or in his espousal of the cause to which he gave his mind and heart.

You can read it all, here.