Best 292 quotes in «civil rights quotes» category

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    The price of conviction has never been cheap, but it will always be worth it.

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    There are all kinds of ways to be in the world. And no matter what has happened to us, or what we have been told, or what we have believed, we get to choose our way.

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    The problem with today's culture is that we have too many rights and not enough wrongs.

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    There are no secrets on the Internet

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    The real revolution is always concerned with the least glamorous stuff. With raising a reading level from second grade to third. With simplifying history and writing it down (or reciting it) for the old folks. With helping illiterates fill out a food-stamps form - for they must eat, revolution or not.

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    There is more than one way to be Kluxed, and we need to think about ourselves and the kind of people we elect into public office.

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    There was an aura about King that was unforgettable. I seem him now in my mind's eye: collected, peaceful, calm. He was in his element and totally in command of himself and the situation.

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    The revolution had come too late for him. He was in his midforties when the Civil Rights Act was signed and close to fifty when its effects were truly felt. He did not begrudge the younger generation their opportunities. He only wished that more of them, his own children, in particular, recognized their good fortune, the price that had been paid for it, and made the most of it. He was proud to have lived to see the change take place. He wasn't judging anyone and accepted the fact that history had come too late for him to make much use of all the things that were now opening up. But he couldn't understand why some of the young people couldn't see it. Maybe you had to live through the worst of times to recognize the best of times when they came to you. Maybe that was just the way it was with people.

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    The SNCC base of operation, at the corner of Jackson and High Streets, was in the heart of the black community in Montgomery. I don't remember too much else about the city, but I'll always remember that corner. There were hundreds of young people behind police barricades of some sort. Lots of college students, some white, from up North, and some local black folks and college students. The whole Selma-to-Montgomery push, and this ancillary thrust by SNCC in Montgomery, was because on the other side of that barricade there were white folks who had shown they would stop at nothing, including violence, to protect white supremacy.

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    These examples and many others demonstrate an alarming trend whereby the privacy and dignity of our citizens is being whittled away by sometimes imperceptible steps. Taken individually, each step may be of little consequence. But when viewed as a whole, there begins to emerge a society quite unlike any we have seen -- a society in which government may intrude into the secret regions of man's life at will." [Osborn v. United States, 385 U.S. 323, 343 (1966) (dissenting)]

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    The sure guaranty of the peace and security of each race is the clear, distinct, unconditional recognition by our governments, national and state, of every right that inheres in civil freedom, and of the equality before the law of all citizens of the United States, without regard to race. State enactments regulating the enjoyment of civil rights upon the basis of race, and cunningly devised to defeat legitimate results of the war, under the pretense of recognizing equality of rights, can have no other result than to render permanent peace impossible, and to keep alive a conflict of races, the continuance of which must do harm to all concerned.

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    [T]he useful idiots, the leftists who are idealistically believing in the beauty of the Soviet socialist or Communist or whatever system, when they get disillusioned, they become the worst enemies. That’s why my KGB instructors specifically made the point: never bother with leftists. Forget about these political prostitutes. Aim higher. [...] They serve a purpose only at the stage of destabilization of a nation. For example, your leftists in the United States: all these professors and all these beautiful civil rights defenders. They are instrumental in the process of the subversion only to destabilize a nation. When their job is completed, they are not needed any more. They know too much. Some of them, when they get disillusioned, when they see that Marxist-Leninists come to power—obviously they get offended—they think that they will come to power. That will never happen, of course. They will be lined up against the wall and shot.

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    There is no such thing as free speech for some. You either have free speech for everyone or you don't have free speech at all.

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    The status quo always favors neutrality which in truth is never neutral at all but supports those who stand against change.

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    The unfortunate reality is that, even today, too many citizens have reason to fear that their right to vote, their access to the ballot--and their ability to have their votes counted--is under threat." --Eric Holder, quoted in Give Us the Ballot

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    The wounding legacy of segregation and growing up knowing adults who had worked for civil rights and equal opportunities for African Americans was part of what made me understand that many kids in my community and around the world were still treated differently because of the color of their skin.  My mothers work on behalf of girls and women, first in Arkansas and later around the world, helped me understand how being born a girl is often seen as a reason to deny someone the right to go to school or make her own decisions, or even about who or when to marry.  One of the unique things about SEWA [Self-Employed Women's Association] is that it brings together Muslim and Hindu women in a part of the world where fighting between people from different religious backgrounds has cost countless lives, both between countries and within India.  Women from all different backgrounds told us how they'd learned how much more they had in common than they'd first thought because of their different religions. Their support for each other gave them the confidence to stand up to bullying and harassment, and the relationships they'd built helped prevent violence between Hindus and Muslims, because they saw each other as friends and real people, not only as representatives of different religions.

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    This is about Us, with a capital U; everybody who looks like us, feels like us, and is experiencing this pain with us.

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    This is the time for black people to stand and be counted.

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    Tolerance of intolerance enables oppression.

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    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.

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    To-day, in more than half of Europe, man is at the mercy of the police; in 1900 even the most conservative and reactionary Prussian Junker would have been unable to imagine, let alone approve, that a citizen could be arrested and kept in prision at the pleasure of the Government.

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    Third, resistance is a tradition of building blocks; a continuum of action that may not have dislodged injustice in its own time, but whose revolutionary founders left behind the framework and tools for a subsequent generation to take up, and ultimately carry out its vision. We can stand back and admire certain laws and protections now—child labor laws, voter enfranchisement for all, an eight-hour work day, clean water, for example—and appreciate the irreversible process of resistance that not only guaranteed their formation, but fought off the innumerable attacks that once kept them from rising.

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    To remind him, and perhaps myself, that any hope for the future depends on our ability to reclaim the narrative of a long con- tinuum of resistance that has been the foundation of our country and the bulwark against the very forces that have threatened our democracy since its founding.

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    Too few of us from the Black Power generation and the movements to take power in cities through the election of black elected officials have told our story. Hence there is very little understanding of the agenda for change we outlined for black people and America in the 1960s and early 1970s. We wanted self-determination, and end to racism, and economic security. It is an agenda that was never fulfilled, and hence the title of my book, Unfinished Agenda.

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    We are going to win our freedom because both the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of the Almighty God are embodied in our echoing demands. So however difficult it is during this period, however difficult it is to continue to live with the agony and the continued existence of racism, however difficult it is to live amidst the constant hurt, the constant insult and the constant disrespect, I can still sing we shall overcome. We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. We shall overcome because Carlisle is right. "No lie can live forever." We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant is right. "Truth crushed to earth will rise again." We shall overcome because James Russell Lowell is right. "Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne."   Yet that scaffold sways the future. We shall overcome because the Bible is right.  "You shall reap what you sow." With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when all of God's children all over this nation - black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old negro spiritual, "Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty, We are Free At Last.

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    We are involved now in a serious revolution. This nation is still a place of cheap political leaders who build their careers on immoral compromises and ally themselves with open forms of political, economic and social exploitation. What political leader here can stand up and say, "My party is the party of principles?

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    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.

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    TRUE Hebrew Israelites DO NOT hate white people. TRUE Hebrew Israelites DO NOT have more than one wife. TRUE Hebrew Israelites DO NOT smoke marijuana or do any other types of drugs TRUE Hebrew Israelites DO NOT have to stand on corners Intimidating people into believing the way.

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    We have fought hard and long for integration, as I believe we should have, and I know that we will win. But I've come to believe we're integrating into a burning house. I'm afraid that America may be losing what moral vision she may have had …. And I'm afraid that even as we integrate, we are walking into a place that does not understand that this nation needs to be deeply concerned with the plight of the poor and disenfranchised. Until we commit ourselves to ensuring that the underclass is given justice and opportunity, we will continue to perpetuate the anger and violence that tears at the soul of this nation.

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    We have fought hard and long for integration, as I believe we should have, and I know that we will win. But I've come to believe we're integrating into a burning house.

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    We must redefine the American dream so that it does not rest on the assumption that we can throw old places away and create new ones in the middle of nowhere.

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    Unfair prejudice can result people being living with fear and unfair treatment if it is based on physical appearance. Therefore, this conflict should be intervened seriously and violators of this act of hate crime should get punished and understand deeply about the significance of human existence, so they can get pressured to change and act morally.

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    We want trumpets that sound like thunder, and men to act as though they were going to war with those corrupt and degrading principles that rob one of all rights, merely because he is ignorant, and of a little different color. Let us have principles that will give every one his due; and then shall wars cease, and the weary find rest.

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    We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface hidden tension that is already alive

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    What if racism is so perfect, it made you believe the boycotting and peaceful protests of the civil rights movement actually changed policies, but in actuality policies were gonna change anyway. "Hell, let them sit whereever they want on the bus. Just don't sit with them. Let them into our schools, the teachers will still teach from a eurocentric curriculum anyway. Let them eat with us, they'll need the energy and strength to build our homes." Racism is a perfect system with an impenetrable barrier.

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    when an assault rifle is aimed at your face over nothing more than a refusal to move, you don't feel like the American experience is one that includes you

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    We shall find that every effort to realize equality necessitates a sacrifice of liberty.

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    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?

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    What is taking place here should be made very clear: Citizens who are completely innocent of any legal wrongdoing and simply minding their own business--not seeking any litigation and neither convicted nor accused of any legal infraction, criminal or civil--are ordered into court and told to write checks to officials of the court or they will be summarily arrested and jailed, Judges also order citizens to sell their houses and other property and turn the proceeds over to lawyers and other cronies they never hired. Summoning legally unimpeachable citizens to court and forcing them to empty their bank accounts to people they have not hired for services they have neither requested nor received on threat of physical punishment is what most people would call a protection racket. . . Yet family court judges do this as a matter of routine. This is by far the clearest example of what we political scientists term a "kleptocracy," or government by theives.

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    When asked what gave her the strength and commitment to refuse segregation, (Rosa) Parks credited her mother and grandfather "for giving me the spirit of freedom... that I should not feel because of my race or color, inferior to any person. That I should do my very best to be a respectable person, to respect myself, to expect respect from others.

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    When people are forced to respect civil rights and human rights or face legal consequences, they don't like it. Civil rights laws will be scrupulously observed only when people accept that it is morally wrong to oppress or discriminate against fellow human beings. That awareness can come only through education. A law will enable integration in public places, but it does not foster understanding or appreciation in the hearts of people who continue to live with their prejudices.

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    When Hughes writes, in the first two lines of his poem, “Let America be America again/ Let it be the dream it used to be,” he acknowledges that America is primarily a dream, a hope, an aspiration, that may never be fully attainable, but that spurs us to be better, to be larger. He follows this with the repeated counterpoint, “America never was America to me,” and through the rest of this remarkable poem he alternates between the oppressed and the wronged of America, and the great dreams that they have for their country, that can never be extinguished.

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    When people have a controversial opinion about an event or a prominent figure, it can significantly increase conflicts of interests that can result people to be socially excluded who don't share the same perspective as them. The way people can end conflicts of interests is to negotiate their conflicting views and unite in order to establish tranquility.

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    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.

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    When we hide discrimination under the guise of 'religious freedom,' we make a mockery of human rights.

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    When I got off the train back home, I saw the WHITE and COLORED signs that had been there all along, as it it was the first time.

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    Why petition Parliament, at all, to do that for us, which, were they ever so well disposed, we can do more speedily and more effectively for ourselves.

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    Why do we apologize for advocating for ourselves? Why do we apologize for taking up space that we are entitled to? Why do we apologize for thinking and speaking and being?

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    White privilege is a manipulative, suffocating blanket of power that envelops everything we know...It's brutal and oppressive, bullying you into not speaking up for fear of losing your loved ones, or job, or flat. It scares you into silencing yourself: you don't get the privilege of speaking honestly about your feelings without extensively assessing the consequences...challenging it can have implications on your quality of life.

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    You can either have individual liberty, or dependence on the government. One is designed to undo the other.