132 African American Civil Rights Quotes To Inspire You

Following is our list of african american civil rights quotations and slogans full of insightful wisdom and perspective about civil rights movement.

African american civil rights quote
Inspirational african american civil rights quote

The Most Famous African American Civil Rights Quotes (Best in 2024)

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There are those who say to you -- we are rushing this issue of civil rights. I say we are 172 years late. — Hubert Humphrey

The South resented giving the Afro-American his freedom, the ballot box and the Civil Rights Law. — Ida B. Wells

The civil rights movement didn't begin in Montgomery and it didn't end in the 1960s. It continues on to this very minute. — Julian Bond

No Republican questions or disputes civil rights. I have never wavered in my support for civil rights or the civil rights act. — Rand Paul

African rights and liberty is a subject that ought to fire the breast of every free man of color in these United States, and excite in his bosom a lively, deep, decided and heart-felt interest. — Maria W. Stewart

Civil rights are civil rights. There are no persons who are not entitled to their civil rights... We have to recognize that we have a long way to go, but we have to go that way together. — Dorothy Height

That's what he was saying, the civil rights movement - judge me for my character, not how black my skin is, not how yellow my skin is, how short I am, how tall or fat or thin; It's by my character. — Pam Grier

It is difficult to overstate the importance of the Civil Rights Act. — Bobby Scott

The establishment of democracy on the American continent was scarcely as radical a break with the past as was the necessity, which Americans faced, of broadening this concept to include black men. — James Baldwin

Our involvement in the civil rights movement is what sent us into our involvement against apartheid. — Mary Jane Patterson

African American History Quotes

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Revolution is a serious thing, the most serious thing about a revolutionarys life. When one commits oneself to the struggle, it must be for a lifetime. — Angela Davis

African american civil rights quote

Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations. — Mae Jemison

We have a wonderful history behind us. ... If you are unable to demonstrate to the world that you have this record, the world will say to you, 'You are not worthy to enjoy the blessings of democracy or anything else'. — Carter G. Woodson

African american civil rights quote Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest ste
Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip top if you must, but take the step.

My father was a slave and my people died to build this country and I am going to stay here and have a part of it just like you. — Paul Robeson

Unconditional love will have the final word in reality. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

African american civil rights quote

Hate is too great a burden to bear. — Coretta Scott King

African american civil rights quote

The potential for greatness lives within us all. — Wilma Rudolph

Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face. — Carol Moseley Braun

At no time within the last five-hundred years can one point to a single instance of the Negro as a race of haters. — Marcus Garvey

African american civil rights quote

I am the dream and the hope of the slave — Maya Angelou

Civil Rights Movement Quotes

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I just couldn't move. History had me glued to the seat. — Claudette Colvin

Freedom, by definition, is people realizing that they are their own leaders. — Diane Nash

There is a source of power in each of us that we don't realize until we take responsibility. — Diane Nash

African american civil rights quote Live your life. Take chances. Be crazy. Don't wait. Because right now is the old
Live your life. Take chances. Be crazy. Don't wait. Because right now is the oldest you've ever been and the youngest you'll ever be again.

The humanity of all Americans is diminished when any group is denied rights granted to others. — Julian Bond

There is no power in the world that can stop the forward march of free men and women when they are joined in the solidarity of human brotherhood. — Walter Reuther

Jim Crow is alive and it's dressed in a Brooks Brothers suit, my friend, instead of a white robe. — Myrlie Evers-Williams

African american civil rights quote Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyways.
Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyways.

The tragedy of the civil rights movement is that just as it achieved the beginning of the end of racial segregation, white educated elites became swept up in the glamour of the sexual revolution. — Maggie Gallagher

Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Even in the civil rights movement, there were so many unbelievable women. They never, ever received the credit that they should have received. They did all of the, and I cannot say it, they did all of the dirty work. Hard work. — John Lewis

John Brown first swam into my vision in the 1960s when I was a political activist in the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement at Chapel Hill, where I went to university. — Russell Banks

Civil Right Movement Quotes

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The sad and tragic fact is that the civil rights movement, despite its honorable and courageous past, has over the years degenerated into a demagogic hustle, promoting the mindless racism they once fought against. — Thomas Sowell

I do think it's extremely important to acknowledge the gains that were made by the civil rights movement, the black power movement.Institutional transformations happened directly as a result of the movements that people, unnamed people, organized and gave their lives to. — Angela Davis

It is not alone that justice is wounded by denying women a part in the making of the civilized world - a more immediate wrong is the way the movement for a fuller, freer life for all human beings is hampered. — Ida Tarbell

African american civil rights quote If things go wrong, don’t go with them.
If things go wrong, don’t go with them.

There is a strong moralistic strain in the civil rights movement that would remind us that power corrupts, forgetting that the absence of power also corrupts. — Bayard Rustin

We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free market capitalism for the poor. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Anyone who said he wasn't afraid during the civil rights movement was either a liar or without imagination. I was scared all the time. My hands didn't shake but inside I was shaking. — James L. Farmer, Jr.

African american civil rights quote Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited of what could
Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited of what could go right.

The social issues outside of football are not as defined as they were earlier, when integration took place and certain rights were legislated. The Civil Rights movement is over. Individuals can buy homes wherever they want, travel first class wherever they want, eat wherever they want. — Jim Brown

You could not be in the civil rights movement without having an appreciation for everybody's rights. That these rights are not divisible - not something men have and women don't and so on. — Julian Bond

Silver rights aren't as dramatic and captivating as civil rights. The movement isn't good TV and it's boring or inaccessible to many people. The forums were created to spread awareness, dialogue, and community to forge new partnerships and ideas. — John Hope Bryant

I think my experience at the University of Chicago, working in the civil rights movement, working in the peace movement, working with community organizations, did a lot to influence the politics that I have. — Bernie Sanders

African American Quotes

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I have written a song that says: If you ever lose someone dear to you, never say the words, "They're gone," and they'll come back. — Prince

If you can be the best, then why not try to be the best? — Garrett Morgan

Fighting is a sport; if you're not humble it's going to bring humbleness to you. — Mike Tyson

African american civil rights quote Knowledge is having the right answer. Intelligence is asking the right questions
Knowledge is having the right answer. Intelligence is asking the right questions.

It doesn't matter how strong your opinions are. If you don't use your power for positive change, you are, indeed, part of the problem. — Coretta Scott King

Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It's your place in the world; it's your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live. — Mae Jemison

Develop enough courage so that you can stand up for yourself and then stand up for somebody else. — Maya Angelou

If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. — Malcolm X

In a world filled with hate, we must still dare to hope. In a world filled with anger, we must still dare to comfort. In a world filled with despair, we must still dare to dream. And in a world filled with distrust, we must still dare to believe. — Michael Jackson

Deal with yourself as a individual, worthy of respect and make everyone else deal with you the same way. — Nikki Giovanni

Don't be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn't do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn't know what you know today. — Malcolm X

Civil Rights Quotes

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I don't call myself a white supremacist. I'm a civil rights activist concerned about European-American rights. — David Duke

Justice is indivisible. You can't decide who gets civil rights and who doesn't. — Angela Davis

Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one's thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down. — Frederick Douglass

In Tanganyika we believe that only evil, Godless men would make the color of a mans skin the criteria for granting him civil rights. — Julius Nyerere

When plunder becomes a way of life, men create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it. — Frederic Bastiat

A community is democratic only when the humblest and weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic, and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess. — A. Philip Randolph

I had a right to my own political opinions. I am a Southern woman, born with Revolutionary blood in my veins. Freedom of speech and of thought were my birthright, guaranteed, signed and sealed by the blood of our fathers. — Rose O'Neal Greenhow

To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. — Thurgood Marshall

The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. — John Stuart Mill

It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union.... Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less — Susan B. Anthony

African American Culture Quotes

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Violence is black children going to school for 12 years and receiving 6 years' worth of education. — Julian Bond

You should always respect what you are and your culture because if your art is going to mean anything, that is where it comes from. — Romare Bearden

Black women have been cultured to compare not connect. — Michaela Angela Davis

To reaffirm the statement on the choosing of my identity, I come from two beautiful cultures which I have embraced, bridged, balanced, and identify with. I am proud to be who I am as a Dine' (Navajo) and Nahilii (African American) woman. Hozho', , & blessings — Radmilla Cody

The Afro-American experience is the only real culture that America has. Basically, every American tries to walk, talk, dress and behave like African Americans. — Hugh Masekela

The African-American community still needs to come together as one and stand up for rights of the people and of what's happening in their culture, their community. — Ziggy Marley

The treatment of African and African American culture in our education was no different from their treatment in Tarzan movies. — Ishmael Reed

Coming up in the African-American culture, we were taught that we belonged to the universe and society was wrong in the way it dealt with us. We had to learn to express and affirm values not from the winning position. — Bernice Johnson Reagon

People ask me if I miss the States. I miss African Americans. But not the U.S. government or all the things they put me through. I miss African American culture, our speech, dance and cooking. — Assata Shakur

Jamestown changed the world in many ways, but perhaps it shaped our nation most profoundly the day Africans arrived. I can't think of a more relevant place to talk about the issues facing our community today than the place where African culture became American culture. — Tavis Smiley

Civil Rights Act Quotes

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Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us. — William O. Douglas

Race to race, the Republicans are putting up candidates that are quite far out of the mainstream in terms of should we have passed the Civil Rights Act or does Social Security need to exist. — Tim Kaine

Let us close the springs of racial poison. Let us pray for wise and understanding hearts. Let us lay aside irrelevant differences and make our nation whole. — Lyndon B. Johnson

It's time for Congress to act, restore the Voting Rights Act, and take action to prevent voter disenfranchisem ent. As your next Congresswoman, I will stand up to the extremists in the Republican Party to ensure civil rights are protected for everyone. — Alma Adams

Secession, like any other REVOLUTIONARY ACT, may be morally justified by the extremity of oppression; but to call it a constitutional right is confounding the meaning of terms. — Andrew Jackson

Civil libertarians have raised concerns that some of the Patriot Act's provisions infringe on Constitutional rights. Those concerns are not supported by the facts. — Roger Wicker

I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I can not remember when I did not so think, and feel. And yet I have never understood that the Presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right to act officially upon this judgment and feeling. — Abraham Lincoln

I favor the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and it must be enforced at gunpoint if necessary. — Ronald Reagan

The Court today completes the process of converting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 from a guarantee that race or sex will not be the basis for often will. — Antonin Scalia

African American History Month Quotes

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I had no idea that history was being made. I was just tired of giving up. — Rosa Parks

Whatever we believe about ourselves and our ability comes true for us. — Susan L. Taylor

I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. — Harriet Tubman

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise. I rise. I rise. — Maya Angelou

You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man. — Frederick Douglass

Black people have always been America's wilderness in search of a promised land. — Cornel West

Racism is not an excuse to not do the best you can. — Arthur Ashe

American means white, and Africanist people struggle to make the term applicable to themselves with ethnicity and hyphen after hyphen after hyphen. — Toni Morrison

I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all. — Zora Neale Hurston

I refuse to accept the view . . . that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Civil Rights Leaders Quotes

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You didn't see me on television, you didn't see news stories about me. The kind of role that I tried to play was to pick up pieces or put together pieces out of which I hoped organization might come. My theory is, strong people don't need strong leaders. — Ella Baker

We are confronted primarily with a moral issue... whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated. — John F. Kennedy

What are you doing for others? — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Neither my great-grandfather an NAACP founder, my grandfather Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. an NAACP leader, my father Rev. A. D. Williams King, nor my uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. embraced the homosexual agenda that the current NAACP is attempting to label as a civil rights agenda. — Alveda King

I'm trying to be a singer, not a civil rights leader. — Adam Lambert

As a civil rights leader, Mrs. King's vision of racial peace and nonviolent social change was a fortifying staple in advancing the civil rights movement. — James T. Walsh

By 1962, King had become, by the media's reckoning, the new civil rights leader. — Constance Baker Motley

Civil rights leaders are involved in helping poor people. That's what I've been doing all my life. — Andrew Young

My parents both were doing the Civil Rights Movement, were very involved with the civil rights to Congress. And my friends' parents were as well. — Janis Ian

In my lifetime, we have lost a President, a Civil Rights leader and a Presidential candidate - all to gun violence. — Marianne Williamson

Civil Rights Act Of 1964 Quotes

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The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was vigorously and vociferously opposed by the Southern states. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed it into law nonetheless. — Henry Rollins

I would have voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. — Ronald Reagan

We've talked more about civil rights after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than we talked about it before 1964. — Clarence Thomas

Many Americans who supported the initial thrust of civil rights, as represented by the Brown v. Board of Education decision and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, later felt betrayed as the original concept of equal individual opportunity evolved toward the concept of equal group results. — Thomas Sowell

I like the idea of amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include a ban of discrimination based on sexual orientation. It would be simple. It would be straightforward. — Donald Trump

The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 represented precisely such a hope - that America had learned from its past and acted to secure a better tomorrow. — Aberjhani

This bill attempts to make sure that President Clinton is not allowed to do by Executive Order what Congress has declined to enact in the past two congressional sessions namely, to treat homosexuals as a special class protected under various titles of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. — Jesse Helms

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 laid the foundation for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but it also addressed nearly every other aspect of daily life in a would-be free democratic society. — Aberjhani

People Writing About African American Civil Rights

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Name Quotes Likes
Read quotes by Hubert Humphrey

Hubert Humphrey
quotes on education, leadership and government

43 680
Read quotes by Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells
quotes on feminism, lynching and suffrage

42 2801
Read quotes by Julian Bond

Julian Bond
quotes on education, slavery and constitution

34 1721
Read quotes by Rand Paul

Rand Paul
quotes on logos, design

318 835
Read quotes by Maria W. Stewart

Maria W. Stewart
quotes on education, marriage and love

12 366
Read quotes by Dorothy Height

Dorothy Height

24 1503

More African American Civil Rights Quotes

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American civil rights leader, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? Lynching is a murder. For the past four hundred years our people have been lynched physically, but now it's done politically. We're lynched politically, we're lynched economically, we're lynched socially, we're lynched in every way that you can imagine. — Malcolm X

Look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

There was a resistance movement in the white community, and there was a determined civil rights movement by our neighbors and friends in the African-American community. They had right on their side. They conducted themselves in high standards, with courage and determination, and they were victorious. They overcame. — Jeff Sessions

One in three young African American men is currently under the control of the criminal justice system in prison, in jail, on probation, or on parole - yet mass incarceration tends to be categorized as a criminal justice issue as opposed to a racial justice or civil rights issue (or crisis). — Michelle Alexander

I see America through the eyes of the victim. I don’t see any American dream; I see an American nightmare. — Malcolm X

Maya Angelou, the famous African American poet, historian, and civil rights activist who is hailed be many as one of the great voices of contemporary literature, believes a struggle only makes a person stronger. — Michael N. Castle

The Klan had used fear, intimidation and murder to brutally oppress over African-Americans who sought justice and equality and it sought to respond to the young workers of the civil rights movement in Mississippi in the same way. — Charles Rangel

And when the time is right, I hope that African Americans will again look to the party of emancipation, civil liberty, and individual freedom. — Rand Paul

Obama was elected in a flourish of promise that many in the African-American community believed would help not only to symbolize African-American progress since the Civil War and Civil Rights Acts but that his presidency would result in doors opening in the halls of power as had never been seen before by black America. — Douglas Wilder

There's good reason to be excited. You have the first woman running who is qualified, and a very attractive African-American who has demonstrated crossover appeal. I got involved in politics 40 years ago during the civil rights movement, so yes, it's an exciting thing. — Joe Biden

Up until, really, Roosevelt, African-Americans largely voted ninety per cent Republican. That was the political origins, that's what their political voice was in the Republican party. During that history, that last sixty or seventy years of history, the Republican party effectively walked away from the community. They were afraid to really embrace civil rights even though they embraced civil rights legislation. And so it's not enough to just to put it on paper, you gotta actually show up and be in the community, and understand what that struggle was really about. — Michael Steele

To simply say that black people made allegations that substantiated an unfair and selective prosecution where you had more than half of the counts thrown out, where you had 27 counts where it took the jury less than four hours to find them not guilty - that speaks to fact that here we have three civil-rights activists, acquitted. What we have here is a prosecution that was baseless, a prosecution that chilled African Americans right to vote. — Cornell William Brooks

I deeply understand the history of civil rights and the horrendous impact that relentless and systemic discrimination and the denial of voting rights has had on our African-American brothers and sisters. I have witnessed it. — Jeff Sessions

We must protect the civil rights of American citizens - African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, and all Americans - by ensuring that their jobs, wages, and well-being come first. — Donald Trump

Everything African-Americans - every freedom they have obtained - came from Republicans, not Democrats. All the way back to the Emancipation Proclamation, to the Civil Rights movement. Civil Rights legislation was passed by a Republican Congress. — Rafael Cruz

I think there are profound differences between the civil rights struggle for African Americans and the civil rights struggle for gay Americans. — Christopher Rice

I have a long history in fighting for civil rights. I understand that many people in the African-American community may not understand that. — Bernie Sanders

I don't think there are any pure Africans of the African Americans, but the African part of our history was pretty much taken away from us during slavery, so the 60s gave us a chance, because of the civil rights movement, to kind of re-examine and make some sort of formal connection to our African-ness. — Herbie Hancock

The 'civil rights' revolutionary groups are a case in point. Their goal is not equality but power. The background of Negro culture is African and magic, and the purposes of magic are control and power. . . Voodoo or magic was the religion and life of American Negroes. Voodoo songs underlie jazz, and old voodoo, with its power goal, has been merely replaced with revolutionary voodoo, a modernized power drive. — R.J. Rushdoony

The fact that women are very young in obtaining their civil rights and African-Americans are young in obtaining their civil rights, I think it's about time that we extend that to all Americans, whether straight, gay, purple, green, black, brown. — Octavia Spencer

The Civil Rights for Musicians Act is about economic justice for African American artists. It's about what's right. And it's about time. — Dionne Warwick

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