Say it Plain

Spanning the 20th century, this collection is a vivid account of how African Americans sounded the charge against racial injustice, exhorting the country to live up to its democratic principles.

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Booker T. Washington
A former slave and the most influential African American at the turn of the 20th century
Marcus Garvey
A Jamaican immigrant who urged black Americans to form their own nation in Africa
Mary McLeod Bethune
A prominent educator and leading civil rights figure in the New Deal era
Dick Gregory
A popular comedian and activist in the 1960s involved in the 1963 marches in Birmingham
Fannie Lou Hamer
Helped lead the fight for black voting rights in Mississippi
Stokely Carmichael
A young civil rights organizer who popularized the slogan, "Black Power"
Martin Luther King Jr.
The most prominent leader of the non-violent civil rights movement in the 20th century
Shirley Chisholm
The first African American woman to be elected to Congress
Barbara Jordan
U.S. Representative who made a historic speech during the 1974 Watergate hearings
Jesse Jackson
A civil rights leader, disciple of Martin Luther King, Jr., and two-time presidential candidate
Clarence Thomas
A Supreme Court Justice appointed by President George H. W. Bush
Barack Obama
President of the United States
Say it Loud

Titled after the classic 1969 James Brown anthem, “Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud,” this anthology illuminates the ideas and debates pulsing through the black freedom struggle from the 1960s to the present. These arguments are suffused with basic questions about what it means to be black in America.

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Malcolm X
Preaching pride and black nationalism
Bob Moses
An organizer from the North in deepest Mississippi
Lorraine Hansberry
Celebrated playwright and activist
Bayard Rustin
An invisible man of the civil rights movement
Shirley Chisholm
“Unbought and unbossed” in Congress
Stokely Carmichael
Promoted black power and pan-Africanism
Angela Davis
Radical critic of the U.S. criminal justice system
Vernon Jordan, Jr.
Promoter of black economic advancement
Dorothy Height
Powerful advocate for equal rights
William Julius Wilson
Looking deep for the causes of poverty
Mary Frances Berry
“Colorblind” society is a faulty vision
Ward Connerly
Leading foe of affirmative action
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Eminent scholar and public intellectual
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