Best 338 of Civil rights quotes - MyQuotes
Knocking on doors wasn't working. We had to try something else. Remember the kids whose natural curiosity brought them into our little office on the corner? We set up a Freedom School that was fashioned after the SNCC Freedom Schools in Mississippi and other places.
The bed sheet brigade is bad enough, but the real threat to Americans and human rights today is the plain clothes Klux in the halls of government and certain black-robed Klux on court benches.
Frederick Douglass called Republicans the ‘Party of freedom and progress,’ and the first Republican president was Abraham Lincoln, the author of the Emancipation Proclamation. It was the Republicans in Congress who authored the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments giving former slaves citizenship, voting rights, and due process of law. The Democrats on the other hand were the Party of Jim Crow. It was Democrats who defended the rights of slave owners. It was the Republican President Dwight Eisenhower who championed the Civil Rights Act of 1957, but it was Democrats in the Senate who filibustered the bill.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Evil must be attacked by. . . the day to day assault of the battering rams of justice.
It is an artist's duty to reflect the times.
Perot's father did not know what civil rights were: this was how you treated other human beings.
Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the constituents.
I do not think I was a hothead—not then and not now. I thought I was right. I had read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bible. Segregation seemed evil from the time I was a boy. Slavery is an abomination on the American soul, ineradicable stain on our body politic. But Penn Center lit a fire that has never gone out, and the election of President Barack Obama was one of the happiest days of my life.
The aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable. The aim of the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim - for it is an abiding characteristic of the Low that they are too much crushed by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of anything outside their daily lives - is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal. Thus throughout history a struggle which is the same in its main outlines recurs over and over again. For long periods the High seem to be securely in power, but sooner or later there always comes a moment when they lose either their belief in themselves or their capacity to govern efficiently, or both. They are then overthrown by the Middle, who enlist the Low on their side by pretending to them that they are fighting for liberty and justice. As soon as they have reached their objective, the Middle thrust the Low back into their old position of servitude, and themselves become the High. Presently a new Middle group splits off from one of the other groups, or from both of them, and the struggle begins over again. Of the three groups, only the Low are never even temporarily successful in achieving their aims. It would be an exaggeration to say that throughout history there has been no progress of a material kind. Even today, in a period of decline, the average human being is physically better off than he was a few centuries ago. But no advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimetre nearer. From the point of view of the Low, no historic change has ever meant much more than a change in the name of their masters.
A. E. Samaan
Capitalism is not a form of government. Capitalism is a symptom of freedom. It is the result of individual rights, which include property rights.
Martin Luther King Jr.
May I say just a word to those of you who are struggling against this evil. Always be sure that you struggle with Christian methods and Christian weapons. Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter. As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love. Let no man pull you so low as to hate him
Racial prejudices are indication of a disturbed and potentially unstable society.
If a police officer encounters you in one of those moments, he or she has every right to ask you two simple questions. Memorize these two questions so you will not be tempted to answer any others: Who are you? What are you doing right here, right now? If you are ever approached by a police officer with those two questions, and your God-given common sense tells you that the officer is being reasonable in asking for an explanation, don’t be a jerk.
Adoptees deserve open records because deception and partial truths do not set us free.
We were still confined to that corner. More and more people joined us, some black and some white. On the second day, we awoke to learn that somebody must have told Martin Luther King that things were getting out of hand in Montgomery, because rumor had it that he left the line of march from Selma to join us in the hood. Despite myself, I was thrilled at the prospect of marching with King. I knew this was SNCC turf, and I was now with SNCC, but how can you not be thrilled with the prospect of being so close to the big man himself?
Privilege is when you contribute to the oppression of others and then claim that you are the one being discriminated against.
Nine owls have squawked out the rules and the hawks will talk, so soon they’ll come marching out of the woodpile and the woodwork—sore-head, sore-foot, right up close, one-butt-shuffling into history but demanding praise and kind treatment for deeds undone, for lessons unlearned. But studying war once more...
If you avoid the civil rights, misusing your power in any shape, the outcome of that will indeed be a tragedy of the entire society and the deplorable crime.
Before, the woods had always done so much for me. Once I could actually go out into the woods and communicate with God, or Nature or something. Now that something didn’t come through. It was just not there anymore. More than ever I began to wonder whether God actually existed. Maybe God changed as the individual changed, or perhaps grew as one grew.
Truth is on the side of the oppressed today, it's against the oppressor.
We have a civil rights photo collection in our house, a big, beautiful coffee table book with images so vivid they cause jaws to drop. When my daughters and their friends pick it up to look at the young Black boys and girls in the middle of a dangerous struggle, I remind them that our eyes are trained to look at the Black faces and their determination as they walk to school. But I tell them also to look at the white faces in the background: the young, jeering faces shouting slurs and throwing things. “All of those folks are now around your granddad’s age,” I tell my daughters. They’re still with us, and those people now walk around, every day, living with what they did, and either trying to rectify it in their brains, through penance, or voting for Donald Trump and passing that hatred down to their children’s children. That is this country. Them. We cannot afford to pretend they don’t live among us.
John Howard Griffin
You can't get around what's right, though," he said. "When we stop loving them, that's when they win.
Privilege doesn't just insulate people from the consequences of their prejudice, it cuts them off from their humanity.
I was brought up by people who loved others. I love people. We had no animosity. We had no feeling that we hate anyone.
You've got the whole civil rights movements emanating from the south, you've got the music that came out of the south that is the core of our current music, so for me that thinking comes out of having Dukes of Hazzard thrown in your face: that the south is a bunch of twangy people that I can't understand. So this is, hopefully, part of the movement to restore the south to its proper and rightful place in our nation... which is huge and pervasive. It's not about Texas - I'm not saying Texas doesn't have it's own unique history - but the south has this at its core.
Leaders who formulate positive ideas and implement effective change in their community can help others overcome difficult economic and social hardships.
But in view of the constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guarantied by the supreme law of the land are involved.
I think I came here as a priest... The priest is more concerned with heresy than with sin; sins can be forgiven; heresy must be eliminated.
Dr. King's policy was that nonviolence would achieve the gains for black people in the United States. His major assumption was that if you are nonviolent, if you suffer, your opponent will see your suffering and will be moved to change his heart. That's very good. He only made one fallacious assumption: In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Only a "dry as dust" religion prompts a minister to extol the glories of Heaven while ignoring the social conditions that cause men an Earthly hell.
But despite the scarcity of confrontation with whites in our neighborhood, race and racism permeated every aspect of our lives. Our parents taught us that in order to succeed, we 'had to be twice as good as white folks.' We were constantly being prepared to enter a world dominated by whites.
Defining freedom cannot amount to simply substituting it with inclusion. Countering the criminalization of Black girls requires fundamentally altering the relationship between Black girls and the institutions of power that have worked to reinforce their subjugation. History has taught us that civil rights are but one component of a larger movement for this type of social transformation. Civil rights may be at the core of equal justice movements, and they may elevate an equity agenda that protects our children from racial and gender discrimination, but they do not have the capacity to fully redistribute power and eradicate racial inequity. There is only one practice that can do that. Love.
Health is a human necessity; health is a human right
[People] are beginning to awaken to an idea we gave meaning to in the sixties: We are one people, one family, the human family, and what affects one of us affects us all.
A voteless people is a hopeless people.
Daniel H. Pink
What is interesting is that John Lewis actually got interested initially in the civil rights movement because of a comic book. So part of it, he's paying homage to this tradition that you can tell serious stories and talk about serious issues in graphic form.
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.
If the system were designed to protect adoptees, why do so many have to fight for their rights?
For alongside our famous individualism, there's another ingredient in the American saga- a belief that we're all connected as one people. If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me- even if it's not my child. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for their prescription drugs and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer- even if it's not my grandparent. If there's an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that that threatens my civil liberties. It is that fundamental belief- I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper- that makes this country work.
You're not under attack when others gain rights and privileges you've always had.
It is no longer enough to just be a good person. We must work to be the next Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King. It is noble to strive to be the size of the bronze giant they dedicated this morning in the building behind me. Fredrick Douglas’ time was in the 1800; King’s time has passed. This is our time. This is the next long march toward civil rights and we shall overcome.
To my Black brothers and sisters, choose faith. As difficult as it is, choose faith—the kind of faith that we know without works is dead. The faith that raises awareness, educates the community, advocates, cares for the widows and feeds the orphans. Choose the faith that is compelled to action, but not controlled my anger.
A. E. Samaan
The act of our creation is equal for all of us. The results are not. The goal of our Foundation is to treat everyone equally under the law.
Martin Luther King Jr.
In this Revolution, no plans have been written for retreat. Those who will not get into step will find that the parade has passed them by.
My rights are not derived from any government. My rights are not denied by any majority. My rights are because I exist.
Black power showed up in different ways, depending on the goals of the group.
I am not, in fact, a superhero. Just a humble, mild-mannered civil rights attorney.
During the height of the government enforcement of the Civil Rights Act, some segregated townships filled in their municipal pools rather than let nonwhite kids share in the perverse joy of peeing in the water.
For all of the pedestals MLK is now put on, far above the reach of ordinary black Americans, Martin was in his life viewed as the most dangerous man in America.
I believe in freedom of speech, but I also believe that we have an obligation to condemn speech that is racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic, or hateful.