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An African American (also Afro-American) is a person in the United States whose ancestors, usually in predominant part, were indigenous to Africa.
- 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.
- Muhammad Ali, as quoted in The Greatest.
- If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves and allow those responsible to salve their conscience by believing that they have our acceptance and concurrence. We should, therefore, protest openly everything... that smacks of discrimination or slander.
- Mary McLeod Bethune, "Certain Unalienable Rights", What the Negro Wants, edited by Rayford W. Logan.
- I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro. When I go to Las Vegas, north Las Vegas, and I would see these little government houses, and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn't have nothin' to do. They didn't have nothin' for their kids to do. They didn't have nothin' for their young girls to do. And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I've often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn't get no more freedom. They got less freedom.
- Cliven Bundy, 2014-04-19, quoted in Adam Nagourney (2014-04-23). "A Defiant Rancher Savors the Audience That Rallied to His Side". The New York Times.
- The workings of the human heart are the profoundest mystery of the universe. One moment they make us despair of our kind, and the next we see in them the reflection of the divine image.
- Charles W. Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition.
- It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others... One ever feels his twoness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warrings ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.
- W.E.B. Dubois, The Souls of Black Folk.
- The seal and the constitution, reflects the thinking of the founding fathers that this was to be a nation by white people, and for white people. Native Americans, Blacks, and all other non-white people, were to be the burden bearers for the real citizens of this nation.
- Louis Farrakhan, "The Million Man March" (1995).
- 'We, the people.' It is a very eloquent beginning. But when that document [the Preamble to the US Constitution] 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, Statement made on July 25, 1974 before the House Committee on the Judiciary.
- We have come over a way that with tears has been watered, We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered.
- James Weldon Johnson, "Lift Every Voice and Sing".
- Let me tell you one thing, nigger. As long as you are black, and you're gonna be black till the day you die, no one's gonna call you by your goddamn name. So no matter what you are called, nigger, you just let it roll off your back like water, and you'll make it. Just pretend you're a goddamn piece of furniture.
- If you will protest courageously, and yet with dignity and Christian love, when the history books are written in future generations, the historians will have to pause and say, 'There lived a great people—a black people—who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization.'
- Martin Luther King Jr., speech to the Montgomery Improvement Association (5 December 1955).
- The common goal of 22 million Afro-Americans is respect as human beings, the God-given right to be a human being. Our common goal is to obtain the human rights that America has been denying us. We can never get civil rights in America until our human rights are first restored. We will never be recognized as citizens there until we are first recognized as humans.
- Malcom X, "Racism: the Cancer that is Destroying America", in Egyptian Gazette.
- Beware of Greeks bearing gifts, colored men looking for loans and whites who "understand the Negro".
- Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., "The Soapbox", The New York Amsterdam News (June 6, 1936), p. 12.
- Freedom is never given; it is won.
- A. Phillip Randolph, Keynote speech given in 1937 at the Second National Negro Congress.
- My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I'm going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you. And no fascist-minded people like you will drive me from it. Is that clear?
- Paul Robeson, testimony on June 12. 1956 before the House Un-American Activities Committee.
- If there ever was a monolithic ‘black America’—absolutely and uniformly deprived and aggrieved, with invariant values and attitudes—there certainly isn’t one now.
- Never that! In this white man's world. They can't stop us, we been here all this time, they ain't took us out... They can never take us out! No matter what they say! About us being extinct, about us being.. Endangered species, we ain't neva gonn' leave this! We ain't never gonna walk off this planet.. Unless you choose to! Use your brains! Use your brains! It ain't them thats killing us, it's us that's killing us... It ain't them that's knockin' us off, It's us thats knockin' us off, I'm tellin you, you better watch it or be a victim... Be a victim in this white manz world.
- Tupac Amaru Shakur "White Manz World".
- A lot of joblessness in the black community doesn't seem to be reachable through fiscal and monetary policies. People have not been drawn into the labor market even during periods of economic recovery. Our study clearly shows that employers would rather not hire a lot of workers from the inner city. They feel people from the inner city are not job-ready, that the kids have been poorly educated, that they can't read, they can't write, they can't speak.
- Affirmative action has to be combined with a broader program of social reform that would emphasize social rights: the right to employment, the right to education, the right to good health. Over the years, black leaders have been slow to recognize the need for a very, very progressive agenda. Anytime someone has talked about putting America back to work, blacks should have said yes, but they didn't. They were so preoccupied with affirmative action that they didn't provide the kind of leadership that would help some of the other progressive folks. Only now are black leaders beginning to realize the impact of economic issues.
- We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice.
- Carter Woodson, "The Celebration of Negro History Week", Journal of Negro History (April 1927).