"There was a strange new construction going on in the inner city. Our stately schools, built before WWII, were beginning to resemble prisons. Certain sections were sealed off, the green quads and courtyards placed off limits of paved over. Bungalows appeared as class sizes grew, decreasing area available for playground activities. Calculus, Greek, Latin, and Journalism were among the classes that disappeared from the curriculum. In the November 1964 election, a local Fair Housing Act proposition was defeated by White voters-which angered my parents, who resented the restricted housing that had crippled their chances for economic stability in the early years of their marriage.
At home, my parents began to fail economically as the price of material things outclimbed their combined incomes. My father could no longer find fruitful employment, abandoned the Republican Party, and became a Democrat. My mother’s paycheck as a seamstress was steadily eroded by bosses bringing in cheaper labor for Mexico. I was exiting puberty, and it was more than obvious that they could not send me to college. My hatred for Los Angeles increased exponentially.
Withing six months, between June and November of 1964, I graduated from high school, started college, turned eighteen, left home, married, dropped out of college, threw away my hot-iron pressing comb and curler to go au naturel, and joined L.A.’s political underground. Nine months later, I would give birth to my first child. Days later, in August 1965 (the violence raging three days before being reported in local newspapers), Watts erupted in flames.
Black had become beautiful."
— The Riot Inside Me by Wanda Coleman
"I’ve changed the course of music five times. What have you done besides marry the President?"
— Miles Davis, addressing First Lady Nancy Reagan after she had asked him what he had done to deserve a place at a White House dinner.
"The worker must have bread but she must have roses too."
— Rose Schneiderman during a speech to a crowd during the Bread & Roses strike, Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1912
"If there be one principle more deeply rooted than any other in the mind of every American, it is, that we should have nothing to do with conquest."
— Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William Short, July 28th, 1791
"Cuba consents that the United States may exercise the right to intervene for the preservation of Cuban independence, the maintenance of a government adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual liberty, and for discharding the obligations with respect to Cuba imposed by the Treaty of Paris on the United States."
— The Platt Amendement of 1901. After the US Congress approved tariffs in 1893 which threatened the market for Cuban sugar, Cubans rebelled against Spanish authorities. The US then came swiftly to Cuba’s aide, eventually leading to the withdrawal of Spanish forces from the island nation. The Platt Amendment prevented Cuba from making treaties with any nation other than the United States, restricted the size of Cuban national debt, and recognized the American right to intervene in Cuba when it believed Cuban individual rights to be under threat.
"Thousands of the men are barefoot…but they are bravely struggling on…so we may finish the war now…I am tired, almost worn out, haven’t had my shoes off for a week, lying sometimes in the heaviest rain."
— Pvt. Oliver Norton of the Union Army, pursuing retreating Confederates following the Battle of Gettysburg.Get
Booker T. Washington
Has anyone here read Booker T. Washington’s Up from Slavery? I am reading it for the first time and though I am only three chapters in…wow. To say the least it is an interesting work by an interesting man. Beyond a tale of slavery this is a tale of much, much more. We shall discuss this later? A taste to get you thinking:
“I am not quite sure of the exact place or exact date of my birth, but at any rate I suspect I must have been born somewhere and at some time.”
“Of my father I know even less than of my mother. I do not even know his name. I have heard reports to the effect that he was a white man who lived on one of the near-by plantations. Whoever, he was, I never heard of his taking the least interest in me or providing in any way for my rearing. But I do not find especial fault with him. He was simply another unfortunate victim of the institution the Nation unhappily had engrafted upon it at that time.”
“One may get the idea from what I have said, that there was bitter feeling toward the white people on the part of my race, because of the fact that most of the white population was away fighting in a war which would result in keeping the Negro in slavery if the South was succesful. In the case of the slaves on our place this was not true, and it was not true of any large portion of the slave population in the South where the Negro was treated with anything like decency.”
“Anyone attempting to harm ‘young Mistress’ or ‘old Mistress’ during the night would have had to cross the dead body of the slave to do so.”
“Then, when we rid ourselves of the prejudice, or racial feeling, and look facts in the face, we must acknolwedge that, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themsleves or who ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe.”
“[If I] had been a member of a more popular race, I should have been inclined to yield to the temptation of depending upon my ancestry and my colour to do for me that which I should do for myself.”
“I have always felt proud, whenever I think of the incident, that my mother had the strength of character enough not to be led into the temptation of seeming to be that which she was not–of trying to impress my schoolmates and others with the fact that she was able to buy me a ‘store hat’ when she was not. I have always felt proud that she refused to go into debt for that which she did not have the money to pay for.”
Testimony from the Treaty of Old Crossing
Ever since I can remember, and perhaps since the world was made, the river has given me sustenance. You say that the land is not of much value to us. It is of great value to us. That river furnished me a living. I drank its water. The beasts that engendered on its shore gave me clothing that I wore. You say that it was of no value to us. It was there that we used to get everything that we had.
Chippewa testimony at the signing of the Treaty of Old Crossing, in which 11,000,000 acres of Minnesota and North Dakota land were “ceded” to the American government. 1863.
"I would have freed thousands mo,
If dey had known dey were slaves."
— Harriet Tubman