But art is not simply works of art; it is the spirit that knows Beauty, that has music in its soul and the color of sunsets in its head kerchiefs; that can dance on a flaming world and make the world dance, too.
Actively we have woven ourselves with the very warp and woof of this nation-we have fought their battles, shared their sorrow, mingled our blood with theirs, and generation after generation have pleaded with a headstrong, careless people to despise not Justice, Mercy and Truth, lest the nation be smitten with a curse. Our song, our toil, our cheer and warning have been given to this nation in blood brotherhood. Are not these gifts worth the giving? Is not this worth the striving? Would America have been America without her Negro People?
This the American Black man knows: his fight is a fight to the finish. Either he dies or he wins. He will enter modern civilization in America as a Black man on terms of perfect and unlimited equality with any white man, or he will enter not at all. Either extermination root and branch or absolute equality. There can be no compromise. This is the last great battle of the west.
I believe in Liberty for all men: the space to stretch their arms and their souls; the right to breathe and the right to vote, the freedom to choose their friends, enjoy the sunshine, and ride on the railroads, uncursed by color; thinking, dreaming, working as they will in a kingdom of beauty and love.
The favorite device of the devil, ancient and modern, is to force a human being into a more or less artificial class, accuse the class of unnamed and unnameable sin, and then damn any individual in the alleged class, however innocent he may be.
Out of the temptation of Hate, and burned by the fire of Despair, triumphant over Doubt, and steeled by Sacrifice against Humiliation, . . . He bent to all the gibes and prejudices, to all hatred and discrimination with that rare courtesy which is the armor of pure souls. . . . he simply worked, inspiring the young, rebuking the old, helping the weak, guiding the strong.
I believe that all men, black and brown, and white, are brothers, varying, through Time and Opportunity, in form and gift and feature, but differing in no essential particular, and alike in soul and in the possibility of infinite development.
Honest and earnest criticism from those whose interests are most nearly touched, – criticism of writers by readers, of government by those governed, of leaders by those led, – this is the soul of democracy and the safeguard of modern society
One ever feels his twoness – an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.
It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.
civil rights activistBut art is not simply works of art; it is the spirit that knows Beauty, that has music in its soul and the color of sunsets in its head kerchiefs; that can dance on a flaming world and make the world dance, too.