Civil Rights Movement Quotes

Quotes tagged as "civil-rights-movement" (showing 1-30 of 87)
Martin Luther King Jr.
“The question is not if we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

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

Christopher Hitchens
“For years, I declined to fill in the form for my Senate press credential that asked me to state my 'race,' unless I was permitted to put 'human.' The form had to be completed under penalty of perjury, so I could not in conscience put 'white,' which is not even a color let alone a 'race,' and I sternly declined to put 'Caucasian,' which is an exploded term from a discredited ethnology. Surely the essential and unarguable core of King's campaign was the insistence that pigmentation was a false measure: a false measure of mankind (yes, mankind) and an inheritance from a time of great ignorance and stupidity and cruelty, when one drop of blood could make you 'black.”
Christopher Hitchens

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

“The time is always right to do the right thing.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Maya Angelou
“If you’re not angry, you’re either a stone, or you’re too sick to be angry. You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger, yes. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.”
Maya Angelou

“Sit on the truth too long and you mash the life right out of it.”
Margaret McMullan, Sources of Light

Timothy B. Tyson
“The self-congratulatory popular account insists that Dr. King called on the nation to fully accept its own creed, and the walls came a-tumbling down. This conventional narrative is soothing, moving, and politically acceptable, and has only the disadvantage of bearing no resemblance to what actually happened.”
Timothy B. Tyson, Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story

Janelle Gray
“But what's braver?' Emmanuel said. 'Naming the bigots and possibly being killed for it? Or living in silence in order to protect yourself and those you love?'
I think bravery had more to do with making the choice and less to do with the choice it self. In that situation, bravery was both living and dying.”
Janelle Gray, Echoes of the Struggle

Joe Biden
“Senator John Stennis:
The civil rights movement did more to free the white man that the black man. ... It freed my soul.”
Joe Biden, Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics

Martin Luther King Jr.
“The Black Power advocates are disenchanted with the inconsistencies in the militaristic posture of our government. Over the past decade they have seen America applauding nonviolence whenever the Negroes have practiced it. They have watched it being praised in the sit-in movements of 1960, in the Freedom Riots of 1961, in the Albany movement of 1962, in the Birmingham movement of 1963 and in the Selma movement of 1965. But then these same black young men and women have watched as America sends black young men to burn Vietnamese with napalm, to slaughter men, women, and children; and they wonder what kind of nation it is that applauds nonviolence whenever Negroes face white people in the streets of the United State but then applauds violence and burning and death when these same Negroes are sent to the fields of Vietnam.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?

John             Lewis
“By the force of our demands, our determination and our numbers, we shall splinter the segregated South into a thousand pieces and put them back together in the image of God and democracy.”
John Lewis, March: Book Two

Martin Luther King Jr.
“My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail

Ralph Ellison
“I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids -- and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass.When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination -- indeed, everything and anything except me.”
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

“The evolution of national unity and equal rights is all about what America represents as a nation today: a manifestation of the historical episodes of Jefferson and Henry as well as the Civil War, the Women’s Suffrage movement, and the Civil Rights struggles.”
Patrick Mendis, Peaceful War: How the Chinese Dream and the American Destiny Create a New Pacific World Order

Janelle Gray
“Our history, America’s history, has been so heavily edited. In history classes, we don’t really go into full discussions about the past. People, struggles, and triumphs have been erased. As a result, we now have a generation, my generation, of people who are intelligent but ignorant of and blind to the truth.”
Janelle Gray, Echoes of the Struggle

“In the South, we knew our adversary would stop at nothing to silence our activism. We knew we could never match his readiness to annihilate our resistance. So we ceded him that ground and challenged him instead to defend himself against the work of loving peace.”
John Lewis, Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America

Janelle Gray
“Back then, Black churches were a small piece of peace. Church was a world where, even with its imperfections, the offer of equality and common humanity was the sustenance needed to make it through the rest of the week in a society that deemed them less than human.”
Janelle Gray, Echoes of the Struggle

Janelle Gray
“I watched as people went to the memorial reading the names. I started at the first entry from 1954. I read each one quietly but out loud to myself, like I’d done with the names of those in the museum. I felt somehow they were getting the message that their sacrifice was known and their voice was heard.”
Janelle Gray, Echoes of the Struggle

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