Civil Rights Quotes

Quotes tagged as "civil-rights" Showing 1-30 of 317
Søren Kierkegaard
“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”
Søren Kierkegaard

Aung San Suu Kyi
“The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear”
Aung San Suu Kyi

Thomas Jefferson
“Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry...”
Thomas Jefferson, The Statute Of Virginia For Religious Freedom

Thomas Jefferson
“...legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”
Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

Audre Lorde
“For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. Racism and homophobia are real conditions of all our lives in this place and time. I urge each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside herself and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives here. See whose face it wears. Then the personal as the political can begin to illuminate all our choices.”
Audre Lorde

Jon Stewart
“If the events of September 11, 2001, have proven anything, it's that the terrorists can attack us, but they can't take away what makes us American -- our freedom, our liberty, our civil rights. No, only Attorney General John Ashcroft can do that.”
Jon Stewart

“If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.”
Harvey Milk

Langston Hughes
“I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then.

Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.”
Langston Hughes

“If not us, then who?
If not now, then when?”
John Lewis

“We've got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire best with fire, but we say you put fire out best with water. We say you don't fight racism with racism. We're gonna fight racism with solidarity.”
Fred Hampton

United Nations
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

William F. Buckley Jr.
“The amount of money and of legal energy being given to prosecute hundreds of thousands of Americans who are caught with a few ounces of marijuana in their jeans simply makes no sense - the kindest way to put it. A sterner way to put it is that it is an outrage, an imposition on basic civil liberties and on the reasonable expenditure of social energy.”
William F. Buckley

William Pickens
“To cheapen the lives of any group of men, cheapens the lives of all men, even our own. This is a law of human psychology, or human nature. And it will not be repealed by our wishes, nor will it be merciful to our blindness.”
William Pickens

Herb Ritts
“Being an American is about having the right to be who you are. Sometimes that doesn't happen.”
Herb Ritts

Ron Paul
“You have to remember, rights don't come in groups we shouldn't have 'gay rights'; rights come as individuals, and we wouldn't have this major debate going on. It would be behavior that would count, not what person belongs to what group.”
Ron Paul

Tariq Ali
“It was civil disobedience that won them their civil rights.”
Tariq Ali, The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad

Cory Doctorow
“Funny, for all surveillance, Osama bin Laden is still free—and we're not. Guess who's winning the "war on terror?”
Cory Doctorow

“Never judge someone's character based on the words of another. Instead, study the motives behind the words of the person casting the bad judgment. An honest woman can sell tangerines all day and remain a good person until she dies, but there will always be naysayers who will try to convince you otherwise. Perhaps this woman did not give them something for free, or at a discount. Perhaps too, that she refused to stand with them when they were wrong — or just stood up for something she felt was right. And also, it could be that some bitter women are envious of her, or that she rejected the advances of some very proud men. Always trust your heart. If the Creator stood before a million men with the light of a million lamps, only a few would truly see him because truth is already alive in their hearts. Truth can only be seen by those with truth in them. He who does not have Truth in his heart, will always be blind to her.”
Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

Criss Jami
“Always seek justice, but love only mercy. To love justice and hate mercy is but a doorway to more injustice.”
Criss Jami, Healology

Mercedes Lackey
“The freedom to swing your fist ends at my nose.”
Mercedes Lackey, Sacred Ground

Martin Luther King Jr.
“Three hundred years of humiliation, abuse and deprivation cannot be expected to find voice in a whisper.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Why We Can't Wait

Louis D. Brandeis
“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

[Olmstead v. U.S., 277 U.S. 438 (1928) (dissenting)]”
Louis D. Brandeis

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
“It is easy to be disgruntled if you are denied rights and freedoms to which you feel entitled. But if you are not coherent, if you cannot put into words what it is that displeases you and why it is unfair and should change, then you are dismissed as an unreasonable whiner. You may be lectured about perseverance and patience, life as a test, the need to accept the higher wisdom of others.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations

Michael Eric Dyson
“Justice is what love sounds like when it speaks in public.”
Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America

“Our freedoms are vanishing. If you do not get active to take a stand now against all that is wrong while we still can, then maybe one of your children may elect to do so in the future, when it will be far more riskier — and much, much harder.”
Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

Thomas Sowell
“However much history may be invoked in support of these policies (affirmative action), no policy can apply to history but can only apply to the present or the future. The past may be many things, but it is clearly irrevocable. Its sins can no more be purged than its achievements can be expunged. Those who suffered in centuries past are as much beyond our help as those who sinned are beyond our retribution.”
Thomas Sowell, Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality

John F. Kennedy
“From time to time our national history has been marred by forgetfulness of the Jeffersonian principle that restraint is at the heart of liberty. In 1789 the Federalists adopted Alien and Sedition Acts in a shabby political effort to isolate the Republic from the world and to punish political criticism as seditious libel. In 1865 the Radical Republicans sought to snare private conscience in a web of oaths and affirmations of loyalty. Spokesmen for the South did service for the Nation in resisting the petty tyranny of distrustful vengeance. In the 1920's the Attorney General of the United States degraded his office by hunting political radicals as if they were Salem witches. The Nation's only gain from his efforts were the classic dissents of Holmes and Brandeis.

In our own times, the old blunt instruments have again been put to work. The States have followed in the footsteps of the Federalists and have put Alien and Sedition Acts upon their statute books. An epidemic of loyalty oaths has spread across the Nation until no town or village seems to feel secure until its servants have purged themselves of all suspicion of non-conformity by swearing to their political cleanliness.

Those who love the twilight speak as if public education must be training in conformity, and government support of science be public aid of caution.

We have also seen a sharpening and refinement of abusive power. The legislative investigation, designed and often exercised for the achievement of high ends, has too frequently been used by the Nation and the States as a means for effecting the disgrace and degradation of private persons. Unscrupulous demagogues have used the power to investigate as tyrants of an earlier day used the bill of attainder.

The architects of fear have converted a wholesome law against conspiracy into an instrument for making association a crime. Pretending to fear government they have asked government to outlaw private protest. They glorify "togetherness" when it is theirs, and call it conspiracy when it is that of others.

In listing these abuses I do not mean to condemn our central effort to protect the Nation's security. The dangers that surround us have been very great, and many of our measures of vigilance have ample justification. Yet there are few among us who do not share a portion of the blame for not recognizing soon enough the dark tendency towards excess of caution.”
John F. Kennedy

Adam Selzer
“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the most sweeping civil rights legislation of its day, and included women's rights as part of its reforms. Ironically, the section on women's rights was added by a senator from Virginia who opposed the whole thing and was said to be sure that if he stuck something about womens' rights into it, it would never pass. The bill passed anyway, though, much to the chagrin of a certain wiener from Virginia.”
Adam Selzer, The Smart Aleck's Guide to American History

Timothy B. Tyson
“In the years since his murder, we have transformed King into a kind of innocuous black Santa Claus.”
Timothy B. Tyson, Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story

Martin Luther King Jr.
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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