We should be creative, and we should accommodate the needs of every community to open up the democratic process. We should make it easy and accessible for every citizen to participate.
I couldn't say no to A. Philip Randolph and no to Martin Luther King, Jr. These two men, I loved them, I admired them, and they were my heroes.
I think Dr. King would be pleased to see the number of elected officials of color - African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and progressive whites.
There's nothing wrong with a little agitation for what's right or what's fair.
People come up to me in airports, they walk into the office, and they say, 'I'm going to cry; I'm going to pass out.' And I say, 'Please don't pass out; I'm not a doctor.'
I grew up very poor in rural Alabama.
In 1965, the attempted march from Selma to Montgomery on March 7 was planned to dramatize to the state of Alabama and to the nation that people of color wanted to register to vote.
We need comprehensive immigration reform. Dr. King wouldn't be pleased at all to know that there are millions of people living in the shadow, living in fear in places like Georgia and Alabama.
I grew up in rural Alabama, 50 miles from Montgomery, in a very loving, wonderful family: wonderful mother, wonderful father. We attended church; we went to Sunday school every Sunday.
When I was growing up in rural Alabama, it was impossible for me to register to vote. I didn't become a registered voter until I moved to Tennessee, to Nashville, as a student.
We had teachers, we had high school principals, we had people teaching in colleges and university in Tuskegee, Alabama. But they were told they failed the so-called literacy test.
In Selma, Alabama, in 1965, only 2.1 percent of blacks of voting age were registered to vote. The only place you could attempt to register was to go down to the courthouse. You had to pass a so-called literacy test. And they would tell people over and over again that they didn't or couldn't pass the literacy test.
I don't understand it, how President Johnson can send troops to Vietnam and cannot send troops to Selma, Alabama, to protect people whose only desire is to register to vote.
Obama is not an African American president, but a president of all Americans. It doesn't matter if you are black, white, Hispanic, he's the president of all races.
The civil rights movement was based on faith. Many of us who were participants in this movement saw our involvement as an extension of our faith. We saw ourselves doing the work of the Almighty. Segregation and racial discrimination were not in keeping with our faith, so we had to do something.
Without prayer, without faith in the Almighty, the civil rights movement would have been like a bird without wings.
The scars and stains of racism are still deeply embedded in the American society.
A few days after Bloody Sunday, there was demonstration in more than 80 American cities. People were demanding that the government act.
Now we have black and white elected officials working together. Today, we have gone beyond just passing laws. Now we have to create a sense that we are one community, one family. Really, we are the American family.
I studied the philosophy and the discipline of non-violence in Nashville as a student. And I staged a sitting-in in the fall of 1959 and got arrested the first time in February 1960.