Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity.
—Desmond Tutu (b.1931) South African Clergyman
He (Bob Marley) had this idea, it was kind of a virologist idea, he believed he could cure racism and hate, literally cure it by injecting music and love into people’s lives. One day he was scheduled to perform at a peace concert, gunmen came to his house and shot him down. Two days later he walked out on that stage and sang. Somebody asked him why. He said the people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking a day off. How can I? Light up the darkness.
—Bob Marley (1945–81) Jamaican Musician, Singer, Songwriter
As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it — whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.
—Harper Lee (1926–2006) American Novelist
I am not an Athenian or a Greek, I am a citizen of the world.
—Socrates (469BCE–399BCE) Anceient Greek Philosopher
Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war and until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation, until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes. And until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race, there is war. And until that day, the dream of lasting peace, world citizenship, rule of international morality, will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, but never attained… now everywhere is war.
I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed. Out of the hard and unusual struggle through which he is compelled to pass, he gets a strength, a confidence, that one misses whose pathway is comparatively smooth by reason of birth and race.
—Booker T. Washington (1856–1915) African-American Educationist
Racism is man’s gravest threat to man—the maximum hatred for a minimum reason.
—Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907–72) American Jewish Rabbi
There aren’t too many people ready to die for racism. They’ll kill for racism but they won’t die for racism.
—Florynce Kennedy (1916–2000) American Lawyer, Civil Rights Leader, Feminist, Activist
I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism. And that’s how I operate my life.
—Oprah Winfrey (b.1954) American TV Personality
A child born to a Black mother in a state like Mississippi has exactly the same rights as a white baby born to the wealthiest person in the United States. It’s not true, but I challenge anyone to say it is not a goal worth working for.
—Thurgood Marshall (1908–93) American Jurist