Civil Rights Quotes
1. People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.
2. The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear
3. Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.
4. 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.
5. If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.
6. 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.
7. If not us, then who?
If not now, then when?
8. 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
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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 And it will not be repealed by our wishes, nor will it be merciful to our blindness.
12. Being an American is about having the right to be who you are. Sometimes that doesn’t happen.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. Funny, for all surveillance, Osama bin Laden is still freeand we’re not. Guess who’s winning the “war on terror?
16. Three hundred years of humiliation, abuse and deprivation cannot be expected to find voice in a whisper.
17. Always seek justice, but love only mercy. To love justice and hate mercy is but a doorway to more injustice.
18. Justice is what love sounds like when it speaks in public.
19. 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.
20. Social gains are never handed out. They must be seized.
21. The freedom to swing your fist ends at my nose.
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. Neither Pagan nor Mahamedan nor Jew ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the Commonwealth because of his religion. -quoting John Locke’s argument.
25. [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.
26. We have no right to prejudice another in his civil enjoyments because he is of another church.
27. As day is to a sword, night is to a shield.
28. It was civil disobedience that won them their civil rights.
29. In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies…but the silence of our friends.
30. 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.
31. Before God and high heaven, is there a law for one man which is not a law for every other man?
32. Health is a human necessity; health is a human right
33. 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.
34. 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.
35. In the years since his murder, we have transformed King into a kind of innocuous black Santa Claus.
36. Slavery is a memory of something we cannot remember, and yet we cannot forget.
37. I knew that, in a large degree, we were trying an experiment–that of testing whether or not it was possible for Negroes to build up and control the affairs of a large education institution. I knew that if we failed it wold injure the whole race.
38. Global betterment is a mental process, not one that requires huge sums of money or a high level of authority. Change has to be psychological.
39. I didn`t change. The Democratic Party slid to the Left from right under me.
40. A state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation’s citizens.
41. If we are to violate the Constitution, will the people submit to our unauthorized acts? Sir, they ought not to submit; they would deserve the chains that these measures are forging for them. The country will swarm with informers, spies, delators and all the odious reptile tribe that breed in the sunshine of a despotic power … [T]he hours of the most unsuspected confidence, the intimacies of friendship, or the recesses of domestic retirement afford no security. The companion whom you most trust, the friend in whom you must confide, the domestic who waits in your chamber, all are tempted to betray your imprudent or unguarded follie; to misrepresent your words; to convey them, distorted by calumny, to the secret tribunal where jealousy presides — where fear officiates as accuser and suspicion is the only evidence that is heard … Do not let us be told, Sir, that we excite a fervour against foreign aggression only to establish a tyranny at home; that […] we are absurd enough to call ourselves ‘free and enlightened’ while we advocate principles that would have disgraced the age of Gothic barbarity and establish a code compared to which the ordeal is wise and the trial by battle is merciful and just.
42. The civil rights movement is understanding your freedom under the Constitution of these United States and if anyone tries to take those freedoms from you, you better rise up and fight and that’s what we’re doing together.
43. This is about Us, with a capital U; everybody who looks like us, feels like us, and is experiencing this pain with us.
44. In its essence, Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech is one citizen’s soul-searing plea with his countrymen––Whites and Blacks––to recognize that racial disparities fueled by unwarranted bigotry were crippling America’s ability to shine as a true beacon of democracy in a world filled with people groping their way through suffocating shadows of political turmoil, economic oppression, military mayhem, starvation, and disease.
45. Jealousy clings to love’s underside like bats to a bridge.
46. There are no secrets on the Internet
47. 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.
48. [Ella Baker]’s second defining characteristic was her dislike of top-down leadership… ‘She felt leaders were not appointed but the rose up. Someone will rise. Someone will emerge’. It was an attitude Baker shared with some of the older women in the movement.
49. President Eisenhower was a fine general and a good, decent man, but if he had fought World War II the way he fought for civil rights, we would all be speaking German now.
50. 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.
51. Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself.
52. When a little black kid disappears and the media ignores it, so does the public. I know you know this. Not only that but how much media coverage a case gets has a direct relationship to how much manpower the brass assigns to solving that case. It also impacts whether or not the feds get involved. I know you know this too, dammit . . .”
“. . . Lobby her on the other case at the same time, knock yourself out, but grant her an interview on Gilbert. Is that understood?”
“Loud and clear, boss. After all, we can’t let a little thing like institutional racism get in our way, now, can we?
53. We’re fighting a form of institutional racism that dates back four hundred years, is embodied in our constitution, and is still alive and well here in the Detroit area.
54. It is not fun to be pulled over by a police officer. We’re upset or anxious when we’re pulled over by the police. We often know what we did wrong and await the penalty, or we wonder what we did wrong and await the explanation. But, do we expect to be manhandled or abused by the officer? Do we fear that he might kill us? For black people, especially black men, those fears are too frequently an unfortunate rea
55. Where is outrage from the National Rifle Association? Where’s the damned NRA? The NRA claims to believe the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States grants all of our citizens the right to survive and protect their families with any gun they want. I guess that’s only true when those citizens are Caucasian! Does the Second Amendment apply if you’re a black man driving through a white neighborhood?
56. A racist cop pulls over a black driver for little reason other than the fact that the driver is black and a recent robbery was committed by a couple of young black guys in a white community. The cop quickly realizes the driver is not one of the robbery suspects. He sees a man with a wife and two small children. They are not a couple of young punks. Still,he persists. Why?
“He asks to see the driver’s license and registration. While locating the appropriate documents, the black driver respectfully volunteers that he is legally carrying a handgun. The cop panics—is it the image of a black man with a gun? He barks out conflicting orders and then shoots the man to death, in front of his family. Why? “Is it because the cop is an insensitive racist? Maybe he wasn’t trained or taught any better? Perhaps he lived a completely different life in a completely different world than that of the black man. In this cop’s world, were all black men potential criminals, people to be watched, people to be feared?
57. Can a black man succeed today beyond his wildest imagination? Can he experience the so-called American dream? Sure he can! He can overcome bigotry and societal views and ideas that stand in his way. But that doesn’t mean that he, unlike his white counterpart, doesn’t have to rise above adverse societal views and bigotry.
58. No white person could possibly understand what it is like to be black in America, even someone like me, a descendant of Holocaust victims and survivors.
59. While white people may never completely understand or fully grasp the experience of being black in America, together, We The People must try to bridge the racial divide. And the result will be a stronger nation.
60. You’re worried that one small case will trigger some kind of race war?