Sarah Vaughan, Great Day.
Jabbo Smith, Till Times Get Better.
I have much confidence that we shall proceed successfully for ages to come, and that...it will be seen that the larger the extent of country, the more firm its republican structure, if founded, not on conquest, but in principles of compact and equality. My hope of its duration is built on...the belief that men are disposed to live honestly, if the means of doing so are open to them. With the consolation of this belief in the future result of our labors, I have that of other prophets who foretell distant events, that I shall not live to see it falsified.
My theory has always been, that if we are to dream, the flatteries of hope are as cheap, and pleasanter than the gloom of despair.
Thomas Jefferson to François Barbé-Marbois, 1817.
While attending an anti-slavery convention at Nantucket, on the 11th of August, 1841, I felt strongly moved to speak, and was at the same time much urged to do so...It was a severe cross, and I took it up reluctantly. The truth was, I felt myself a slave, and the idea of speaking to white people weighed me down. I spoke but a few moments, when I felt a degree of freedom, and said what I desired with considerable ease. From that time until now, I have been engaged in pleading the cause of my brethren--with what success, and with what devotion, I leave those acquainted with my labors to decide.
Frederick Douglass, last lines of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.
We ain’t got a black president, Jefferson, because God ain’t ready for that yet.
Archie Bunker to Henry Jefferson, "All in the Family," ca. 1975.
First African-American president--better be good.
Malia Obama, to her father, in ref. to his inaugural speech, January 2009.