50 Essential Civil Rights Speeches

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tags: civil rights

Stacker compiled a list of 50 essential civil rights speeches using resources including BlackPast, TED, and additional media and educational sources.

Fannie Lou Hamer’s 'Taking it to the Mountain'


Former sharecropper Fannie Lou Hamer talked in 1964 about traveling 26 miles to register to vote to become “first-class citizens,” being met by police, and ultimately being evicted for her efforts. She asked, in the speech, “Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off of the hook?”

Lorraine Hansberry "The Black Revolution and the White Backlash"


Not far off the mark from the commentary of Malcolm X, Hansberry mentioned the “problem about white liberals,” who don’t understand the impatience of Black people who’ve been “kicked in the face so often.” Her 1964 speech noted that the solution is to get them to “stop being a liberal and become an American radical.”

James Baldwin’s 'Pin Drop'


Writer and activist James Baldwin talked in 1965 about how it can seem to Black people that they “belong where white people have put you.” He addressed how gentrification existed 55 years ago: “When someone says ‘Urban Renewal,’ that Negroes are simply going to be thrown out into the streets.” And he talked about how those who are excluded will rise up: “The people who are denied participation in [the American Dream], by their very presence, will wreck it.”



Read entire article at Winston-Salem Journal

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