No man is an island, and we need others to keep us whole. African-American notables share their opinions on society.

A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.
Martin Luther King, Jr

All partisan movements add to the fullness of our understanding of society as a whole. They never detract; or, in any case, one must not allow them to do so. Experience adds to experience.
Alice Walker

At the bottom of education, at the bottom of politics, even at the bottom of religion, there must be for our race economic independence.
Booker T. Washington

Before a group can enter the open society, it must first close ranks.
Stokely Carmichael

Civilization had too many rules for me, so I did my best to rewrite them.
Bill Cosby

Cruelty is contagious in uncivilized communities.
Harriet Ann Jacobs

Greed has driven the world crazy. And I think I'm lucky that I have a place over here that I can call home.
Nina Simone, Nina Simone Interview

Hungry men have no respect for law, authority or human life.
Marcus Garvey

I think they must mix blood, otherwise the human race is bound to degenerate. Mixing blood is marvelous. It makes strong and intelligent men. It takes away tired spirits.
Josephine Baker

I'm sick and tired of black and white people of good intent giving aspirin to a society that is dying of a cancerous disease.
Ralph Abernathy

If the society today allows wrongs to go unchallenged, the impression is created that those wrongs have the approval of the majority.
Barbara Jordan, The Johnson Years: LBJ: The Differences He Made

In order for us as poor and oppressed people to become part of a society that is meaningful, the system under which we now exist has to be radically changed... It means facing a system that does not lend its self to your needs and devising means by which you change that system.
Ella Baker

Never be the only one, except, possibly, in your own home.
Alice Walker

No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.
Booker T. Washington

Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Salvation for a race, nation or class must come from within.
Philip Randolph

The author takes the position that the consumer pays the tax, and as such every individual of the social order should be given unlimited opportunity to make the most of himself.
Carter G. Woodson, Miseducation of the Negro

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

The inability to get health care because people lack insurance, kills, less traumatically, and less visibly than terrorism, but the result is the same. And poor housing and poor education and low wages kills the spirit and the capacity and the quality of life that all of us deserve.
Marian Wright Edelman

To understand how any society functions you must understand the relationship between the men and the women.
Angela Davis

We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.
Angela Davis

We need workers, not leaders. Such workers will solve the problems which race leaders talk about.
Carter G. Woodson

We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers. Our power is in our ability to make things unworkable.
Bayard Rustin

When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions.
Carter G. Woodson

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.
Frederick Douglass

You don't pay taxes - they take taxes.
Chris Rock

You're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem.
Eldridge Cleaver