They want the ocean without the awful roar of its waters.

22 Jan

This week I went to a great talk by the African American artist Ben Jones. He is currently exhibiting Evolution-Revolution at Rich Mix in London, which includes a series of wallpapers that explore issues surrounding justice, politics and the environment. These ones below, that include the words of Frederick Douglass (ex-slave and a leader of the abolitionist movement) really touched me. His words still ring so true.

The exhibition continues until 24th Feb – you should go if you can, it really inspired me.

Those who profess to favor freedom

and yet deprecate agitation,

are men who want crops without

plowing up the ground.

They want rain without thunder and lightning.

They want the ocean without the awful roar of its waters.

This struggle may be a moral one;

or it may be a physical one;

or it may be both moral and physical;

but it must be a struggle.

Power concedes nothing without a demand.

It never did, and it never will.

Find out just what people will submit to,

and you have found the exact amount of injustice

and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and

these will continue until they are resisted

with either words or blows, or with both.

The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

Frederick Douglass, August 4, 1857


One Response to “They want the ocean without the awful roar of its waters.”


  1. Link Loving 25.01.11 « Casper ter Kuile - January 25, 2011

    […] Hanna Thomas discovers Ben Jones and Frederick Douglass in one go and is suitably bowled-over. […]

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