“I dig old books.” ™
For I am my mother's daughter, and the drums of Africa still beat in my heart. ~Mary McLeod Bethune
It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others.... One ever feels his twoness, - an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. ~W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk, 1903
We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers. Our abundance has brought us neither peace of mind nor serenity of spirit. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today we know with certainty that segregation is dead. The only question remaining is how costly will be the funeral. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
Our nation is a rainbow - red, yellow, brown, black, and white - and we're all precious in God's sight. ~Jesse Jackson, speech at Democratic National Convention, San Francisco, 17 July 1984
"We, the people." It is a very eloquent beginning. But when that document was completed on the seventeenth of September in 1787 I was not included in that "We, the people." I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, just left me out by mistake. But through the process of amendment, interpretation and court decision I have finally been included in "We, the people." ~Barbara Jordan
Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I had no idea that history was being made. I was just tired of giving up. ~Rosa Parks
[W]hen you first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are), and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro... when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness" - then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism. ~Oprah Winfrey
The shadow of a mighty Negro past flits through the tale of Ethiopia the shadowy and of the Egypt the Sphinx. Throughout history, the powers of single blacks flash here and there like falling stars, and die sometimes before the world has rightly gauged their brightness. ~W.E.B. DuBois
We black men seem the sole oasis of simple faith and reverence in a dusty desert of dollars and smartness. ~W.E.B. DuBois
To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships. ~W.E.B. DuBois
There were in the midst of Northern society forces and influences continually at work misrepresenting the Negro. Art lent its fascinating, but mischievous, pencil to paint him in form and features most repulsive. Northern people traveling through the South have discovered that we are not so bad looking after all. I say it, and I say it without fear of successful contradiction, that many of the handsomest citizens the United States can boast of to‑day have the warm blood of Africa coursing through their veins. ~William H. Crogman (1841–1931), address delivered at the anniversary of the Freedmen's Aid Society, 1883 August 13th, Ocean Grove, New Jersey [a little altered
Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally. ~Abraham Lincoln
You can not possibly have a broader basis for government than that which includes all the people, with all their rights in their hands, and with an equal power to maintain their rights. ~William Lloyd Garrison
I am working for the time when unqualified blacks, browns, and women join the unqualified men in running our government. ~Cissy Farenthold
Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity. ~Desmond Tutu
Few of us realize that racism is man's gravest threat to man, the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason, the maximum of cruelty for a minimum of thinking. This is not a white man's world. It is God's world. ~Abraham Joshua Heschel, c. 1963
Prejudices are the chains forged by ignorance to keep men apart. ~Countess of Blessington
Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. ~Robert F. Kennedy
The majority of the Negroes who took part in the year-long boycott of Montgomery's buses were poor and untutored; but they understood the essence of the Montgomery movement; one elderly woman summed it up for the rest. When asked after several weeks of walking whether she was tired, she answered: "My feet is tired, but my soul is at rest." ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
Even when the polls are open to all, Negroes have shown themselves too slow to exercise their voting privileges. There must be a concerted effort on the part of Negro leaders to arouse their people from their apathetic indifference.... In the past, apathy was a moral failure. Today, it is a form of moral and political suicide. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Negro is the child of two cultures - Africa and America. The problem is that in the search for wholeness all too many Negroes seek to embrace only one side of their natures. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
As I like to say to the people in Montgomery: "The tension in this city is not between white people and Negro people. The tension is, at bottom, between justice and injustice, between the forces of light and the forces of darkness." ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
There is such a thing as the freedom of exhaustion. Some people are so worn down by the yoke of oppression that they give up.... The oppressed must never allow the conscience of the oppressor to slumber.... To accept injustice or segregation passively is to say to the oppressor that his actions are morally right. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
American means white, and Africanist people struggle to make the term applicable to themselves with ethnicity and hyphen after hyphen after hyphen. ~Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, 1992
In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate. ~Toni Morrison, 1992
My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I'm going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you. And no fascist-minded people like you will drive me from it. ~Paul Robeson
When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything. ~Harriet Tubman, on her first escape from slavery, 1845
I felt that one had better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or rat in a trap. I had already determined to sell my life as dearly as possible if attacked. I felt if I could take one lyncher with me, this would even up the score a little bit. ~Ida B. Wells
All the negro asks is that the door which rewards industry, thrift, intelligence and character be left as wide open for him as for the foreigner who constantly comes to our country. More than this he has no right to request. Less than this a republic has no right to withhold. ~Booker T. Washington, 1904 February 12th, Armstrong Association meeting, New York City
As long as the colored man look to white folks to put the crown on what he say... as long as he looks to white folks for approval... then he ain't never gonna find out who he is and what he's about. ~August Wilson, .Jr.
Is a civilization naturally backward because it is different? Outside of cannibalism, which can be matched in this country, at least, by lynching, there is no vice and no degradation in native African customs which can begin to touch the horrors thrust upon them by white masters. Drunkenness, terrible diseases, immorality, all these things have been gifts of European civilization. ~W.E.B. DuBois
Enslave the liberty of but one human being and the liberties of the world are put in peril. ~William Lloyd Garrison
Prejudice is the child of ignorance. ~William Hazlitt
I will always remember my delight when Mrs. Georgia Gilmore - an unlettered woman of unusual intelligence - told how an operator demanded that she get off the bus after paying her fare and board it again by the back door, and then drove away before she could get there. She turned to Judge Carter and said: "When they count the money, they do not know Negro money from white money." ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
We did not hesitate to call our movement an army. But it was a special army, with no supplies but its sincerity, no uniform but its determination, no arsenal except its faith, no currency but its conscience. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
The problem with hatred and violence is that they intensity the fears of the white majority, and leave them less ashamed of their prejudices toward Negroes. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
[W]e are the heirs of a past of rope, fire, and murder. I for one am not ashamed of this past. My shame is for those who became so inhuman that they could inflict this torture upon us. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
There comes a time when people get tired of being plunged into the abyss of exploitation and nagging injustice. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
When the Negro was completely an underdog, he needed white spokesmen. Liberals played their parts in this period exceedingly well.... But now that the Negro has rejected his role as an underdog, he has become more assertive in his search for identity and group solidarity; he wants to speak for himself. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
If you will protest courageously, and yet with dignity and Christian love, when the history books are written in future generations, the historians will have to pause and say, "There lived a great people - a black people - who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization." This is our challenge and our overwhelming responsibility. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
And so we shall have to do more than register and more than vote; we shall have to create leaders who embody virtues we can respect, who have moral and ethical principles we can applaud with enthusiasm. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you to go on in spite of all. And so today I still have a dream. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.