Mrs. Greenstone, I am 59 years old. I am black and I have lived with and fought racism my entire life. I have been in prison 23 times—serving 28 months in a federal penitentiary and 30 days on a North Carolina chain gang, among other punishments.
I have seen periods of progress followed by reaction. I have seen the hopes and aspirations of Negroes rise during World War II, only to be smashed during the Eisenhower years. I am seeing the victories of the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations destroyed by Richard Nixon.
I have seen black young people become more and more bitter. I have seen dope addiction rise in the Negro communities across the country.
I have been in a bombed church. My best friends, closest associates, and colleagues-in-arms have been beaten and assassinated. Yet, to remain human and to fulfill my commitment to a just society, I must continue to fight for the liberation of all men. There will be times when each of us will have doubts. But I trust that neither of us will desert our great cause.
Said to a Wayne State University professor, Aug. 5 1969, after she had complained about how tired she was of having to deal with anti-Semitism.