AVG – “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was ‘well timed’ in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’ We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.’”

This quote is from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” King was a prominent civil-rights activist and proponent of nonviolent civil disobedience to gain support for the civil-rights movement. The letter was written on April 16, 1963, during King’s arrest in a Birmingham jail for peaceful but illegal protests in response to the criticisms of clergymen in Birmingham who believed King’s protests and defiance of the law were unwise.

The fact that “‘Wait has almost always meant ‘Never’” is a reference to many whites’ (and some blacks’) efforts throughout history to slow the civil rights struggle to make it more acceptable to themselves or others. Gradual emancipationists, many of whom believed slavery was already in decline, advocated phasing the system out over several generations; however, the number of enslaved African-Americans rose until the Civil War and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. Booker T. Washington advocated an “accommodationist” approach that acknowledged that blacks must start at the bottom of society and work their way up, but blacks were still at the bottom of society about half a century later.

Although the letter was addressed to a specific group of clergymen, the letter was also aimed at white and black Americans to convince them of the justice of King’s civil-rights crusade. Because the function of King’s demonstrations was to emphasize the injustice of segregationist laws and the brutality of white supremacists, it was necessary for him to explain that he was morally justified in violating unjust laws in order to promote integration. The letter also aims to persuade African-Americans (as well as some whites) to join King in his protests.

King’s letter and other protests gained thousands of followers, including many children. King’s protests and the violence against protestors eventually forced the federal government to intervene on behalf of African-Americans and protect the civil rights of all citizens.


"And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

This quote is from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address in 1961. This was Kennedy’s most famous quote and first of Kennedy’s famous one-line expressions. Kennedy was a young and somewhat inexperienced politician at the time of his election which only magnifies the power behind this quote which defined the progress that would occur during his presidency. His inaugural address, which most of the nation heard was a perfect occasion to inspire the nation and give it newfound hope. After the despair that the nation faced at the end of the 1950s with the Soviet Union winning the space race and the Cold War as a whole, the United States needed both a strong leader and something to believe in. With quotes like this one, Kennedy provided both of these things to the nation. Kennedy is saying in this quote that one shouldn’t look to the government to provide things, but every citizen must play an active role in helping the United States become prosperous and win the Cold War. With quotes like these, Kennedy proved his role as an inspiring figure for the nation, one that every citizen could admire and look to for hope.


“A child miseducated is a child lost.”

-John F. Kennedy

In the age of the Cold War, education became an important aspect of American society, as the push to stay above the Soviet Union grew stronger. In the decade before Kennedy’s presidency, Eisenhower made an effort to improve upon space technology. JFK continued the space race by backing NASA and proclaiming that the US would strive to land on the moon. The Peace Corps was established at the time to foster the growth of poor nations under the arm of the US. Kennedy hoped to gain helpful allies, as well as prevent communism from spreading. The meaning behind this quote has to do with generational prosperity, and the idea that education needs to remain strong in order for the nation to succeed in the future. In addition, if children are miseducated, then they will be poor leaders of America when they grow older. The child “lost” refers to both a figurative member of society who does not contribute, and an actual death as a result of careless dealings with problems such as a potential nuclear war. If America’s youth was not well educated, Kennedy believed the nation would fail. Risks were present throughout the Cold War, and events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 made JFK’s presidency one of the most momentous of the era. To Kennedy, education was not simply about defeating the rival USSR, but keeping America and the world away from the results of Mutually Assured Destruction. Therefore this quote can be seen as applicable to all nations, and like so many of Kennedy’s sayings relatable to any time period.

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to preserve the survival and the success of liberty."
-John F. Kennedy

This statement was spoken by President John F. Kennedy during his Inaugural Address in 1961. He believed that the US had to stand strong in the face of Communism. He was inaugurated during the Cold War with the USSR, and this statement served to rally the general public and establish the United States’ determination to stand up for its own ideals. However, this statement could also be applied to almost any time period in American history, from the Revolution to today’s war in the Middle East. During the time this was spoken, tensions between the US and the USSR were increasing, especially due to the division of Germany. Americans were also afraid of a Communist takeover of the government. People were drawn to him for some of the same reasons that the Founding Fathers chose George Washington to lead the new nation: in times of great fear, people want a leader who appears to be in control and knowledgeable of the situation at hand. Kennedy was very good at this, using his knowledge of the TV industry to help him appear and remain calm during televised debates.
This was spoken to a fearful American public who had just gotten out of WWII fifteen years before, and who were extremely nationalistic and eager to safeguard their country from the grips of Communism. Kennedy used it to encourage Americans to stand behind him through the upcoming events of the Cold War. It was intended to reassure his supporters of their position, and to reconcile others to his presidency. It conveys Kennedy’s pride in the US and his desire for the country to remain steadfast through any hardships that might erupt during his presidency. It would have encouraged Americans not to give up or despair in the face of Cold War tensions, but to stand up for the American ideals of liberty that shaped the nation. It was trying to convey the point that America was strong and determined to stand up for its beliefs. This material is significant because it outlines Kennedy’s views on the Cold War, and it may have had the effect of encouraging and inspiring the American public.

VB- “I want to be the President who educated young children to the wonders of their world. I want to be the President who helped to feed the hungry and to prepare them to be taxpayers instead of tax eaters. I want to be the President who helped the poor to find their own way.”

This statement was given by President Lyndon B. Johnson in his inaugural address. Johnson was the Vice President to John F. Kennedy before Kennedy was assassinated. Thus, explaining why Johnson is upholding many of the ideal that JFK fought to establish. The quote was said in 1965, just after having won the 1964 presidential election against Barry Goldwater.

The first reference to LBJ saying that he wanted to be the President who educated the young was followed through when LBJ enacted the High Education Act of 1965. This was prompted by LBJ’s domestic travels to various schools in the US. LBJ wanted to see all the children be able to receive college education. The part where LBJ states he wants to help the poor find their “own way” was also covered by the HEA of 1965 because it provided additional resources to colleges and increases the availability of students to enroll. Additionally, the year before this statement, LBJ prompted the coin name “War on Poverty” where he attempted to decrease the amount of people in poverty by establishing government aid programs. Some of these programs were established by the Economic Opportunity Act. Many of these programs are still existing and be used today.

Lyndon B. Johnson’s efforts and promises were exceptional as he attempted to be remembered for what he had done. His efforts were are reflected in the abilities of students to all attend college through federal subsidies and the poor to access food via food stamps. Although critics believed the programs were inefficient and resulted in a slow growth for the United States, many Americans viewed this as a valiant effort.


“It is wrong to deny your fellow Americans the right to vote… We shall overcome.” – Lyndon B. Johnson
President Lyndon B. Johnson said this in a national address after Bloody Sunday during the Modern Civil Rights Movement. He took various actions to support the movement and also helped to pass multiple Civil Rights Acts to ensure that blacks could vote. He felt that blacks should be able to vote and that what had happened in Selma was bad and that blacks deserve equal rights. He said this soon after Bloody Sunday March, 1965 so it was clearly in response to Bloody Sunday. He said this during his speech to Congress on live national television so most Americans would have heard him. Human rights and civil rights were addressed in this statement and in the rest of his speech as he very clearly supported the movement by using its slogan. The Modern Civil Rights Movement had faced many challenges, and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s statement implied that it was gaining success. Lyndon B. Johnson enacted multiple laws to support the movement and also supported blacks’ rights by appointing Thurgood Marshall to Solicitor General and later Supreme Court Justice. Lyndon B. Johnson was a proponent of the Modern Civil Rights Movement. His statement was symbolic of his support for the Modern Civil Rights Movement as he used their famous slogan in his speech. This was said for all Americans to hear, but most importantly the whites who opposed the movement so that they would know that he disagreed with them and that they were in effect losing. Blacks who had participated in the movement would have paid attention to this as it was made clear to America that he sided with them; blacks in general would have paid attention to this as it affected them and prompted them to register to vote; whites who had opposed the movement would have paid attention to this as it showed that their opposition was supported by the President. Blacks would have reacted positively because it was a good thing for the movement, and conversely white supremacists or KKK members would have reacted negatively because it showed that the President, albeit white and from the south, did not support their actions. He said this to convey his support for the Modern Civil Rights Movement and to show his disapproval of the actions taken on Bloody Sunday that had occurred recently. Social need addressed was the fair treatment of African Americans and their right to vote as American citizens. He argued that Bloody Sunday was wrong, the movement was right, and that black deserve the right to vote. It also contained the message that how blacks were being treated was unfair. His main point was that blacks should be able to vote and that he supported the Modern Civil Rights Movement. This quote was significant because it was the first time a white politician had used the movement’s slogan and because it showed that Lyndon B. Johnson supported the movement. The social implications were that African Americans were being mistreated and deserved to be treated as equals. His statement could have convinced many white Americans to support the Modern Civil Rights Movement because it was being treated as a human rights issue.

"are we to say to the world and, much more importantly, to each other that this is the land of the free except for Negroes; that we have no second-class citizens except Negroes; that we have not class or caste system, no ghettos, no master race except with respect to Negroes?" –John F. Kennedy
President John F. Kennedy said this during the Modern Civil Rights Movement during the integration of the University of Alabama. John Kennedy was a proponent of the Modern Civil Rights Movement through his policies and actions. He believed that it was hypocritical of Americans to argue that America was a free country to all citizens when blacks were being discriminated against. He said this after the University of Alabama had refused to admit two African American students based on their race. This shows that this statement was a reaction to that discrimination. His statement addressed human rights and discrimination against African Americans. The University of Mississippi had recently been integrated with John F. Kennedy’s support, and white supremacists like Governor George Wallace did not the same thing to happen to the University of Alabama. At this time the United States claimed to be promoting freedom and democracy to oppose communism in countries abroad, so the hypocrisy Kennedy mentioned was evident. White supremacists were a target audience as he criticized their views, and black activists were also a target audience as he supported their movement; his statement was meant to affect all Americans to garner support for the movement by showing his support. White supremacists and black activists and those involved in the integration of the University of Alabama would have paid attention to this statement as it was directly related to them and the integration of the University of Alabama since it was made after the university had refused to admit two black students. Black activists would have reacted positively to Kennedy’s statement since it revealed his support, and white supremacists would have reacted negatively for the same reason. He said this to show that he supported the Modern Civil Rights Movement and to convince others to support it too. He said this after the university had refused the students as criticism. The social need addressed was for African Americans to be treated as equals. He argues that discrimination against blacks was hypocritical because America claimed to be a free land among other things. It contains the message that blacks should be given the equal treatment they deserve as American citizens. The main point was that discrimination against African Americans was unethical and hypocritical. His statement was significant because it demonstrated his support of the Modern Civil Rights Movement. The social implications were that discrimination against blacks was immoral. This statement could have convinced some to support the Modern Civil Rights Movement.

J.R.C. - “President Kennedy never foresaw that the chickens would come home to roost so soon...Being an old farm boy myself, chickens coming home to roost never did make me sad; they always made me glad.” -Malcolm X
This quote was made by Black Muslim leader Malcolm X in response to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. After JFK's assassination in 1963, the Nation of Islam's spiritual leader, Elijah Muhammad, ordered all of his officials not to comment on the tradgedy. Despite this order, Malcolm X openly refered to the President's death as a case of "the chickens coming home to roost." This quote changed the entire course of his life due to the hatred and hostility that followed - in reality, enough to end it. Muhammad, after hearing news about Malcolm X's comment, suspended Malcolm X for 90 days. Following the specified 90 days of his suspension, Malcolm X took a pilgramage to Mecca, to fufill his religious responsibilities and on this Hajj, Malcolm X was exposed to the corrupt injustices of the Nation of Islam. Upon returning, Malcolm X preached his recent findings, and was assassinated for challenging NOI beliefs.
In reality, the quote that ultimately led to the assassination of Malcolm X had no hostile intentions whatsoever. A year after his original statement, Malcolm X gave a full explanation during a recorded conversation at Harvard University. Essentially, Malcolm X asserted by stating "The chickens have come home to roost" that the hatred fostered in America during the sixties was the exact cause of Kennedy's assassination. Nationwide hatred toward African Americans did not simply stop there. Malcolm X argued that because this hatred was left unchecked, this hatred alone caused the death of JFK.

J.R.C. - "We stand today on the edge of a new frontier - the frontier of the 1960s - a frontier of unknown opportunities and perils - a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats." -John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy made this quote in 1960, during his inaugural speech. This quote set a major precedent for his entire presidential career. The “New Frontier”, as referred to in his speech, epitomized many social and foreign policies he wished to instate during his presidency. Serving during a new age and amongst a new, younger generation, Kennedy completely understood the challenges ahead of him. In an attempt to fulfill this idea of a “New Frontier”, Kennedy often took it upon himself to utilize the innovative technology to surpass his opponent, Richard Nixon. Exemplifying the “New Frontier” ideals, Kennedy would go to extreme lengths to appear much livelier and healthy compared to Nixon on television. In addition to his adaptation of new technology into his presidential campaign, “New Frontier” ideals were also embodied by his pursuit of space age technology. In leveling the playing field with the U.S.S.R., so to speak, America could regain technological dominance, thus embracing the idea of a New Frontier. Much further into his presidency, JFK created the Peace Corps, which is still prominent today. In addition to the establishment of the Peace Corps, Kennedy increased the minimum wage and even created environmental policies. The overarching significance of Kennedy’s “New Frontier” policy had innovative impacts on the sixties and lasting impacts still today.

-JT- “As I see it I’ve moved the Negro from D+ to C-. He’s still nowhere. He knows it. And that’s why he’s out in the streets.” – LBJ

Lyndon B. Johnson was the President of the USA during the Civil Rights Movement. He is considered to have made the greatest efforts in establishing Civil Rights, but clearly, he did not feel the same way about himself. Even after getting the National Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Civil Rights Act 1964 passed into law, Johnson still felt as though he had failed to make a true difference in the lives of African Americans. These sentiments were largely sparked by the Long Hot Summers during which riots broke out across the Northern US as activists became doubtful of the effectiveness of Martin Luther King’s nonviolent approach. After the riot in Detroit, which included snipers picking off firemen and their resultant choice to let the fires burn themselves out, Johnson really saw the devastation that de facto segregation was creating. His laws and policies simply couldn’t change the social boundaries that Americans have created among themselves. This quote was in response to his committee made to investigate the causes behind the massive riots, but was far more of a personal criticism than a political gesture. Still, as President, Lyndon B. Johnson was able to establish acts that have created the social changes he hoped would ensue today. While discrimination can never be completely abolished when there are some who choose to remain ignorant, the majority of today’s population no longer sees color as a division but merely a variety. President Barack Obama is a perfect example of this. While Johnson’s goals may not have completely materialized during his presidency, he made major long term impacts.

VB- "Many people consider the things government does for them to be social progress, but they consider the things government does for others as socialism."
This quote was given by Earl Warren in a reflection of the court decisions that he made in his career. While he served, the Supreme Court was commonly referred to as the Warren Court due to his commanding personality and ability to persuade others to his belief. Earl Warren’s rise to the Supreme Court had been warranted as an attempt to gain support for Eisenhower. Eisenhower promised that in return for Warren’s endorsement, if a position in the Supreme Court opened, Earl Warren would receive it. Eisenhower believed that no position would become vacant during his Presidency. With the unexpected death of Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson, Earl Warren was appointed to Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Eisenhower would later reflect on the appointment as the biggest mistake of his presidency. The Warren Court was known for the large liberalism in many topics including Civil Rights, Education, and Personal Right. The decisions made by the court drew large amounts of criticism and support. The liberal attitudes of the court allowed for the progression and social protection in these areas. Earl Warren was criticized for endangering the capitalist structure of the US by making these judicial rulings. Warren makes a strong distinction in this quote in order to address these accusations. The social progress of the government is only interpreted by some as being a socialist movement. Earl Warren is able to attribute the selfishness of these individuals by giving two situations. If the rulings had been in favor of the critics than they would believe it was social progress, however once the government goes against one opinion it is a treachery. The Warren Court simply addressed the changing social, economic, and political tensions that had developing during the 1960s.

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth” - John F. Kennedy
This statement was made by John F. Kennedy in his address to the UN General Assembly on September 25, 1961. At the time JFK was faced with a nation dominated with the fear of the communist and but JFK believed the United States had to stand strong in the face of Communism. With the Cold War looming overhead Kennedy asserted firmness and reason could lead to a peaceful solution to protect West Berlin and Europe, through which the United States would neither provoke or commit to aggression. The quote’s domestic intention was to rally the general public and establish the United States determination to stand up for its own ideas. The quote served to tell the nations of the UN and the world not only was the United States not going allow other nations to dictate our progress, but also the United States was going to allow communism or conformity within our borders. By asserting conformity would hamper the growth of the United States Kennedy broadens his audience to appeal to nearly all Americans who inevitably want their country to flourish. Although the quote’s original intention was facing communism the youth of the 1960’s was able to associate with the message. For a generation whose parents faced the Great Depression and World War II these individuals found comfort and security in conformity, however these children were strong proponents for disregarding conformity, and were able to assimilate with JFK’s statement.

“The new frontier is here whether we seek it or not . . . . I believe the times demand new invention, innovation, imagination, decision. I am asking each of you to be pioneers on that New Frontier.”
John F. Kennedy said this quote on July 15th, 1960 in his Democratic National Convention Nomination Acceptance Address. John F. Kennedy was a very good speaker and his quotes encouraged people help the nation. His quotes did not apply to any group in particular, they were all encompassing. In this quote he asks everyone in the United States to participate in being pioneers of the New Frontier. This involves everyone and makes everyone feel like they have importance and that they could help. It individually calls on every person’s creativity and imagination. Being a pioneer is thought of as somewhat of an adventure, so using those words in the quote makes helping the nation more appealing. People like the idea that the New Frontier will be influenced by their ideas, which is why this quote is so powerful. After having gone through World War II people want change and hearing Kennedys’ implication of change makes people want to participate. Kennedy acknowledges that there could be problems by saying that not everyone would want to enter this frontier but reassures them by saying that they will work through it together. This quote is very strong and makes everyone like Kennedy and makes everyone believe that they personally can help in the United States.

“He got the peace prize, and we got the problem.. ... If I'm following a general, and he's leading me into a battle, and the enemy tends to give him rewards, or awards, I get suspicious of him. Especially if he gets a peace award before the war is over.” – Malcolm X
This statement was made by Malcolm X in 1964 regarding Martin Luther King, Jr. shortly after King received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in advancing Civil Rights. It demonstrates the shift in thought that occurred in the mid 1960s regarding the advancement of blacks in American society. Prior to the 1960s, the goals of activists had been accomplishment through nonviolent resistance, protests such as boycotts, sit-ins, and marches which civil rights leaders such as King and Rosa Parks supported. Malcolm X was of the opinion that King had received his prizes and awards too soon, and that celebration was far from in order as segregation and inequality for blacks was still rampant, despite the voting rights that Johnson had ceded to the black populace. There was, however, a large measure of irony in both Malcolm X’s views expressed towards King and his ideas as to how black activism in America should be achieved. Both King’s and Malcolm’s principal force behind achieving equality and freedom was the unification of the black communities behind a shared cause. This, then, created a fallacy in Malcolm’s criticisms of King. He espoused black power and unification, yet his suspicious accusations of King’s behavior in advocating nonviolent resistance and cooperative action with white and black lawmakers alienated a large member of the civil rights movement, creating segregation and division within the black populace when it was least needed. There was another interesting irony in the type of activism that Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam advocated. Malcolm differed from King in that he supported achievement by any means possible, this interpreted as including violent action. He believed the black nation to be innately superior and advocated separatism for black communities as the only means of progress. Yet this eerily reflected the views of white supremacists who had pushed down and enslaved African Americans for hundreds of years in America. This was a concern that King expressed with such extremist viewpoint, that it would be impossible to overcome racism and bigotry if it was used as a weapon.