I have met every president since President Kennedy. And I think Barack Obama must be listed as one of the best. This young man has been so inspiring - not just to people in America but to people all around the world.
Before we went on any protest, whether it was sit-ins or the freedom rides or any march, we prepared ourselves, and we were disciplined. We were committed to the way of peace - the way of non-violence - the way of love - the way of life as the way of living.
I travel all the time, but when I come back to the South, I see such progress. In a real sense, a great deal of the South has been redeemed. People feel freer, more complete, more whole, because of what happened in the movement.
We all live in the same house, we all must be part of the effort to hold down our little house. When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just... do something about it. Say something. Have the courage. Have the backbone. Get in the way. Walk with the wind. It's all going to work out.
When I was a student, I studied philosophy and religion. I talked about being patient. Some people say I was too hopeful, too optimistic, but you have to be optimistic just in keeping with the philosophy of non-violence.
The March on Washington was a March for Jobs and Freedom. There are still too many people who are unemployed or underemployed in America - they're black, white, Latino, Native American and Asian American.
My parents told me in the very beginning as a young child when I raised the question about segregation and racial discrimination, they told me not to get in the way, not to get in trouble, not to make any noise.
There may be some difficulties, some interruptions, but as a nation and as a people, we are going to build a truly multiracial, democratic society that maybe can emerge as a model for the rest of the world.
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.
We need someone who will stand up and speak up and speak out for the people who need help, for people who are being discriminated against. And it doesn't matter whether they are black or white, Latino, Asian or Native American, whether they are straight or gay, Muslim, Christian, or Jews.
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.
Sometimes you have to not just dream about what could be - you get out and push and you pull and you preach. And you create a climate and environment to get those in high places, to get men and women of good will in power to act.
Black men and women were not allowed to register to vote. My own mother, my own father, my grandfather and my uncles and aunts could not register to vote because each time they attempted to register to vote, they were told they could not pass the 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.
We are one people; we are only family. And when we finally accept these truths, then we will be able to fulfill Dr. King's dream to build a beloved community, a nation, and a world at peace with itself.