Freedom's Sword: The NAACP and the Struggle against Racism in America, 1909-1969

By Gilbert Jonas | Go to book overview

7.

The Politics of Political Advancement

If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he cannot send his children to the best public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who represent him, if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place? Who among us would then be content with the counsels of patience and delay? One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free. They are not yet freed from the bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic oppression, and this nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.

President John F. Kennedy, Televised Nationwide Civil Rights Address, Washington, D.C., June 12, 1963

For what is justice? It is to fulfill the fair expectations of man. American justice is a very special thing. We have pursued it faithfully to the edge of our imperfections and we have failed to find it for the American Negro.

President Lyndon B. Johnson, Commencement Address to the Graduating Class of Howard University, June 5, 1965

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