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Civil Rights Movement: "Black Power" Era Quotes

They Said It

"I am 65 years old, I own 100 acres of land that is paid for, I am a taxpayer and I have six children. All of them is teachin', workin'... If what I done ain't enough to be a registered voter with all the tax I got to pay, then Lord have mercy on America."

- A black man attempting to register to vote in Selma, Alabama, c. 196429
"We have to build our own power. We have to win every single political office we can, where we have a majority of black people... The question for black people is not, when is the white man going to give us our rights, or when is he going to give us good education for our children, or when is he going to give us jobs—if the white man gives you anything—just remember when he gets ready he will take it right back. We have to take for ourselves."

- Fannie Lou Hamer, spokeswoman for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party30
"We have talked long enough about equal rights in this country. It is now time to write the next chapter and write it in the books of law."

- President Lyndon B. Johnson to the Congress, 8 January 196431
"I've got vengeance in my heart tonight, and I ask you to feel angry with me. I'm sick and tired, and I ask you to be sick and tired with me. The white men who murdered James Chaney are never going to be punished. I ask you to be sick and tired of that. I'm tired of the people of this country allowing this thing to continue to happen."

- David Dennis, a leader in the 1964 Freedom Summer delivering a eulogy for James Chaney, 196432
"If the white people realize what the alternative is, perhaps they will be more willing to hear Dr. King."

- Black leader Malcolm X speaking three weeks before his assassination, 196533
"As far as I was concerned, the Panthers were 'baaaaaad.' The Party was more than bad; it was bodacious. The sheer audacity of walking onto the California Senate floor with rifles, demanding that Black people have the right to bear arms and the right to self-defense, made me sit back and take a long look at them."

- Assata Shakur, one-time member of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense34
"The way we see it, the sister is also a revolutionary, and she has to be able to defend herself, just like we do. She has to learn to shoot, just like we do. Because the pigs in the system don't care that she's a sister; they brutalize her just the same."

- Black Panther Party Chairman Bobby Seale, 197035
"No more Brothers in jail! OFF THE PIGS! Pigs are gonna get killed! OFF THE PIGS! No more pigs in our community! OFF THE PIGS! No more pigs in our community! OFF THE PIGS! The Revolution has come! OFF THE PIGS! Time to pick up the gun! OFF THE PIGS!"

- Black Panther Party anthem36

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