“I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.”
“We, the people.” It is a very eloquent beginning. But when that document was completed on the seventeenth of September in 1787 I was not included in that “We, the people.” I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, just left me out by mistake. But through the process of amendment, interpretation and court decision I have finally been included in “We, the people.” ~Barbara Jordan
“I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people.”
“Freedom is never given; it is won.”
Keynote speech given at the Second National Negro Congress in 1937
“I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
Notes of a Native Son
“There’s not an American in this country free until every one of us is free.”
“Question everything. Every stripe, every star, every word spoken. Everything.”
“Our flag is red, white and blue, but our nation is a rainbow-red, yellow, brown, black and white-and we’re all precious in God’s sight.
~Jesse Jackson, Speech, 16 July 1984
“But just as they did in Philadelphia when they were writing the constitution, sooner or later, you’ve got to compromise. You’ve got to start making the compromises that arrive at a consensus and move the country forward.”
“We must fight as a race for everything that makes for a better country and a better world. We are dreaming idiots and trusting fools to do anything less.”
~Ralph Bunche, Journal of Negro Education
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Black Americans have demonstrated their allegiance and respect for America through decades of struggle and in justice. Through the arts, literature, civil disobedience, athletics and civil service, African-Americans have come to embraced patriotism through both adversity and achievement. Above are ten quotes from notable African-Americans, whose contributions to society have come to define America as we know it today.