“It is an unhappy truth that racism is a way of life for the vast majority of white Americans, spoken and unspoken, acknowledged and denied, subtle and sometimes not so subtle – the disease of racism permeates and poisons a whole body politic. And I can see nothing more urgent than for America to work passionately and unrelentingly – to get rid of the disease of racism . . . I submit that nothing will be done until people of goodwill put their bodies and their souls in motion . . . We're going to win our freedom because both the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of the almighty God are embodied in our echoing demands. And so, however dark it is, however deep the angry feelings are, and however violent [the] explosions are, I can still sing ‘We Shall Overcome.’ We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
“. . . I write with the feeling that the truth I may tell will not be definitive or objective or even demonstrable, but in the strictest sense subjective, relative to the peculiar self-consciousness of a diseased man struggling toward a cure. I am trying to establish the outlines of an understanding of myself in regard to what was fated to be the continuing crisis of my life, the crisis of racial awareness – the sense of being doomed by my history to be; if not always a racist, then a man always limited by the inheritance of racism, condemned to be always conscious of the necessity not to be a racist, to be always dealing deliberately with the reflexes of racism that are embedded in my mind as deeply at least as the language I speak"