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TheDailyBeast: Voices of Black History

Memorable Quotes from Iconic African-Americans

Perhaps it’s easiest to think of Black History Month as just another moment to acknowledge that freedom isn’t free, like the Fourth of July or Memorial Day. When Martin Luther King Jr. stood at the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963, and declared,

“In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the ‘unalienable Rights’ of ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’ ”

King codified, for once and for all, the need inherent in democracy to hold America to its promises. So though we usually associate Black History Month with recalling the historic plight of African Americans, it is really for all of us. Consider then, the following quotes not as an homage to black history, but as a call to duty, one that all citizens, no matter their hue, can and should heed.

By: Raina Kelley

(Photo by AFP/Getty Images)
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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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