9 Powerful Civil Rights Quotes About Equality in America

Celebrate the Voting Rights Act of 1965 with these influential reads.

martin luther king i have a dream speech

A lot of people say a lot of things. But sometimes someone says something profound enough to make the history books. President Lyndon B. Johnson, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X are such people. Their M.O.: equal rights.

Related: 6 Books About Race to Explain the Current Unrest 

Buy Protest at Selma at Amazon

Protest at Selma

By David J. Garrow

The battle is in our hands. And we can answer with creative nonviolence the call to higher ground to which the new directions of our struggle summons us. The road ahead is not altogether a smooth one. There are no broad highways that lead us easily and inevitably to quick solutions. But we must keep going. —Martin Luther King Jr., from the address at the conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March

Buy Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream at Amazon

Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream

By Doris Kearns Goodwin

Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to ensure that right. It is wrong—deadly wrong—to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country. There is no issue of states rights or national rights. There is only the struggle for human rights. —President Lyndon B. Johnson, from The Voting Rights Act Address

Buy The Past That Would Not Die at Amazon

The Past That Would Not Die

By Walter Lord

I feel that every young Negro must make his personal contribution toward the accomplishment of his freedom. No one man can fight alone. You can’t confine the struggle for human freedom and dignity to one place or to one man. To free the right arm and cut the left arm off—this is not progress. —James H. Meredith, from I Can’t Fight Alone

Buy The Children at Amazon

The Children

By David Halberstam

Freedom is people realizing they are their own leader. —Diane Nash, Coordinator of the Freedom Riders

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America Observed

By Alistair Cooke

I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. —Rosa Parks

Buy The Toughest Indian in the World at Amazon

The Toughest Indian in the World

By Sherman Alexie

When you resort to violence to prove a point, you've just experienced a profound failure of imagination. —Sherman Alexie

Buy The Souls of Black Folk at Amazon

The Souls of Black Folk

By W. E. B. Du Bois

Democracy is a method of realizing the broadest measure of justice to all human beings; only by putting power in the hands of each inhabitant can we hope to approximate in the ultimate use of that power the greatest good to the greatest number. —W.E.B. Du Bois

Buy In Search of Bisco at Amazon

In Search of Bisco

By Erskine Caldwell

Segregation is that which is forced upon an inferior by a superior. Separation is done voluntarily by two equals.—Malcolm X

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Living by the Word

By Alice Walker

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any. —Alice Walker

Published on 5 Aug 2015