This is the basis, and I am not being tried for whether I am a Communist, I am being tried for fighting for the right of my people, who are still second-class citizens in this United States of America
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.
It is truly horrible to understand yourself as the essential below of your country. It breaks too much of what we would like to think about ourselves, our lives, the world we move through and the people who surround us. The struggle to understand is our only advantage over this madness.
It began to strike me that the point of my education was a kind of discomfort, was the process that would not award me my own especial Dream but would break all the dreams, all the comforting myths of Africa, of America, and everywhere, and would leave me only with humanity in all its terribleness. And there was so much terrible out there, even among us. You must understand this.
White folks have controlled New Orleans with money and guns, black folks have controlled it with magic and music, and although there has been a steady undercurrent of mutual admiration, an intermingling of cultures unheard of in any other American city, South or North; although there has prevailed a most joyous and fascinating interface, black anger and white fear has persisted, providing the ongoing, ostensibly integrated fete champetre with volatile and sometimes violent idiosyncrasies.
And America, too, is a delusion, the grandest one of all. The white race believes--believes with all its heart--that it is their right to take the land. To kill Indians. Make war. Enslave their brothers. This nation shouldn't exist, if there is any justice in the world, for its foundations are murder, theft, and cruelty. Yet here we are.
What good's a black face if it means I'm just someone else's property? Why give me these arms and legs just to carry someone else's load, not my own?
To be an American is to be accosted by bigotry and enmity for the rights that you were told to appreciate.
We elected a man who knows how to build walls when we needed someone who knows how to build bridges.
The election of Donald Trump confirmed everything I knew of my country and none of what I could accept. The idea that America would follow its first black president with Donald Trump accorded with its history. I was shocked at my own shock. I had wanted Obama to be right.I still want Obama to be right. I still would like to fold myself into the dream. This will not be possible.
There are no clean victories for black people, nor, perhaps, for any people. The presidency of Barack Obama is no different. One can now say that an African American individual can rise to the same level as a white individual, and yet also say that the number of black individuals who actually qualify for that status will be small. One thinks of Serena Williams, whose dominance and stunning achievements can’t, in and of themselves, ensure equal access to tennis facilities for young black girls. The gate is open and yet so very far away.
One Saturday morning last May, I joined the presidential motorcade as it slipped out of the southern gate of the White House. A mostly white crowd had assembled. As the motorcade drove by, people cheered, held up their smartphones to record the procession, and waved American flags. To be within feet of the president seemed like the thrill of their lives. I was astounded. An old euphoria, which I could not immediately place, gathered up in me. And then I remembered, it was what I felt through much of 2008, as I watched Barack Obama’s star shoot across the political sky. I had never seen so many white people cheer on a black man who was neither an athlete nor an entertainer. And it seemed that they loved him for this, and I thought in those days, which now feel so long ago, that they might then love me, too, and love my wife, and love my child, and love us all in the manner that the God they so fervently cited had commanded.
Racist legacy laws and modern racist practices are all part of the same system, and it needs to be changed now.
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
When he asked if she was okay, her eyes welled with tears and she said, “Like I’m always telling my brothers, if you gonna go into history, you can’t do it with a hate attitude. You got to remember, times was different.
Acknowledging that all our land was stolen from Native people feels like too great a burden, so we create an alternative reality that allows us to disengage emotionally from the truth.
You and I have to rejoice that we have not to answer for our fathers’ crimes, neither shall we do right to charge them one to another. We can only regret it, and flee from it, and from henceforth, let peace and righteousness be written upon our hearts and hands forever.
Through The Mecca I saw that we were, in our own segregated body politic, cosmopolitans. The black diaspora was not just our own world but, in so many ways, the Western world itself. Now, the heirs of those Virginia planters could never directly acknowledge this legacy or reckon with its power. And so that beauty that Malcolm pledged us to protect, black beauty, was never celebrated in movies, in television, or in the textbooks I’d seen as a child. Everyone of any import, from Jesus to George Washington, was white. This was why your grandparents banned Tarzan and the Lone Ranger and toys with white faces from the house. They were rebelling against the history books that spoke of black people only as sentimental “firsts”—first black five-star general, first black congressman, first black mayor—always presented in the bemused manner of a category of Trivial Pursuit. Serious history was the West, and the West was white. This was all distilled for me in a quote I once read from the novelist Saul Bellow. I can’t remember where I read it, or when—only that I was already at Howard. “Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus?” Bellow quipped. Tolstoy was “white,” and so Tolstoy “mattered,” like everything else that was white “mattered.” And this view of things was connected to the fear that passed through the generations, to the sense of dispossession. We were black, beyond the visible spectrum, beyond civilization. Our history was inferior because we were inferior, which is to say our bodies were inferior. And our inferior bodies could not possibly be accorded the same respect as those that built the West. Would it not be better, then, if our bodies were civilized, improved, and put to some legitimate Christian use?
Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.
However, in this city (San Francisco) that prides itself in being so progressive, it feels like we need to go back and master something both simple as well as incredibly complex – each other. We can learn to embrace our differences without making them a joke or a spectacle.
I don't give a damn if there's any hope for them or not. But I know that I am not about to be bugged by any more white jokers who still can't figure out whether I'm human or not. If they don't know, baby, sad on them, and I hope they drop dead slowly, in great pain.
None of us get to choose our race but we all get to choose how we overcome its hurtles. Whether we jump or stumble...what matters most is that we take each moment in stride. Compassion, love, forgiveness and empathy will always win the human race.
My inspiration for writing music is like Don McLean did when he did American Pie or Vincent. Lorraine Hansberry with A Raisin in the Sun. Like Shakespeare when he does his thing, like deep stories, raw human needs.I'm trying to think of a good analogy. It's like, you've got the Vietnam War, and because you had reporters showing us pictures of the war at home, that's what made the war end, or that shit would have lasted longer. If no one knew what was going on we would have thought they were just dying valiantly in some beautiful way. But because we saw the horror, that's what made us stop the war.So I thought, that's what I'm going to do as an artist, as a rapper. I'm gonna show the most graphic details of what I see in my community and hopefully they'll stop it quick.I've seen all of that-- the crack babies, what we had to go through, losing everything, being poor, and getting beat down. All of that. Being the person I am, I said no no no no. I'm changing this.
Only God can break through the variegated walls of skin to capture the one and only hue of the heart. One Blood.
The power structure understands that Black folks have been hungry for so long, fixing us a plate now that's the same size as theirs would do nothing for our hunger. After all, they're pretty full and fat.They know we now require a much bigger plate than theirs to quiet the stomach rumblings.They see us and know what it looks like to be less powerful. They are fighting to never FEEL it.
Superior, do you understand me? These are white people. They are not like you, or me or us. They have the power to hurt you ... and sometimes it's fun to them when they do. Their power is not because they are smart ... it's because ... something happened sometime ... started somewhere and they got on top of the world. They got the power. The only power you got is to learn to live with them, learn to read their minds ... til you can do better. They don't treat each other right ... so don't you look to be treated right. You hear me? Sometimes there's good white people ... but don't you act like that til you know that.
The black world was expanding before me, and I could see now that that world was more than a photonegative of that of the people who believe they are white. White America is a syndicate arrayed to protect its exclusive power to dominate and control our bodies. Sometimes this power is direct (lynching), and sometimes it is insidious (redlining). But however it appears, the power of domination and exclusion is central to the belief in being white, and without it, white people would cease to exist for want of reasons.
Tracker Marks was of a different opinion. Though he seemed more white than a white man, he had no time for their ways. For him his dress, his deportment was no different than staying downwind in the shadows of trees when hunting, blending into the world of those he hunted, rather than standing out from it. Once he had excelled at the emu dance & the kangaroo dance; then his talent led him to the whitefella dance, only now no-one was left of his tribe to stand around the fire & laugh & praise his talent for observation & stealthy imitation.The whites have no law, he told Capois Death, no dreaming. Their way of life made no sense whatsoever. Still, he did not hate them or despise them. They were stupid beyond belief, but they had a power, & somehow their stupidity & their power were, in Tracker Marks’s mind, inextricably connected. But how? he asked Capois Death. How can power & ignorance sleep together? Questions to which Capois Death had no answer.
No one is an outside observer of nature,We're defined by our environment and our interaction with that environment -- by our ecology. And that ecology is necessarily relative, historical and empirical.
Not even God who made us all can kill everybody at once. He kills people one by one, and the more he kills the more people are gonna be born and grow up and go on being born and growing up and mixing, and no son-of-a-bitch is gonna stop 'em!
Individual cultures and ideologies have their appropriate uses but none of them erase or replace the universal experiences, like love and weeping and laughter, common to all human beings.
If the idea of loving those whom you have been taught to recognize as your enemies is too overwhelming, consider more deeply the observation that we are all much more alike than we are unalike.
The instinct to tell our children that they are better than someone else’s children, based on nothing more than the color of their skin, is now a fossilized aberration that serves no useful purpose.