Selma – Quotes
MLK Jr.: 20 million negroes motivated by dignity…
LBJ: Ending segregation—proudest moment of my life, I tell ya. I want to help. Tell me how. MLK JR.: Well, Mr. President, I’m here to talk about … the right to vote. LBJ: Most of the South is still not desegregating. Let’s not start another battle before we’ve won that one…. The next fight I want to focus on is the war on poverty and I want your help. I know you agree…the right to vote will have to wait.
We got 128 miles to come to our senses, gentlemen.
MLK Jr.: That white boy can hit!
Director: King is a political and moral degenerate.
LBJ: Well, he’s a non-violent degenerate.
MLK Jr.: Local sheriff is bad news, they say. Won’t go down without a fight. Since we don’t fight…well…good a place to die as any.
Hostess in her home: Well this here’s a big one! I don’t know if I’ve got enough to feed you.
Big man: Well, let’s find out!
50% of Selma is negroes, but less than 2% are able to vote and determine their destiny.
MLK Jr.: We demonstrate. A big part of that is raising white consciousness. The way to do that is be on the news every night and on the front page of the paper every morning.
Ralphie: Eyes on the prize, Martin.
MLK Jr.: Yeah, but what is the prize? Man stands up only to be struck down, and what happens to the people he led? He earns the right to sit at any counter, but can’t afford to buy anything off the menu. Heck, can’t even read it because no schools for blacks. I’m tired of this.
MLK Jr.: This cell is probably bugged. [laughs]
Ralphie: Probably is.
MLK Jr.: They’re gonna ruin me so they can ruin this movement.
Ralphie: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life,” Matthew 6:26-27
Mrs. King: I admire you. Sometimes I wish I were more out there in the trenches. You do more than you know, Mrs. King.
Advisor to Governor: If you want fear, you need dominance.
MLK Jr.: There are no words to soothe you, Mr. Lee. There are no words, but I can tell you, God was the first to cry for your boy. God was the first to cry.
MLK Jr.: Who murdered Jimmy Lee, Jackson? We know a state trooper under … orders …but how many others people’s fingers were on that trigger? Who murdered Jimmie Lee Jackson? Every white lawman who abuses the law to terrorize. Every white politician who feeds on prejudice and hatred. Every white preacher who preaches the bible and stays silent before his white congregation. Who murdered Jimmie Lee Jackson? Every Negro man and woman who stands by without joining this fight as their brothers and sisters are brutalized, humiliated, and ripped from this Earth.
MLK Jr.: Our lives are not fully lived unless we are willing to die for what we believe in.
MLK Jr. observation about LBJ: [He will] sacrifice life in the name of liberty in Vietnam, but lacks the moral strength to stand up for life [here in America].
MLK Jr.: We need your involvement. We deserve your help, Mr. President.
LBJ: You’re an activist. I’m a politician. You’ve got one issue. I’ve got a hundred and one.
MLK Jr.: I came here, hoping to talk to you about people. People. People are out there, dying in the streets, sir.
Coretta King: What I have never gotten used to is the death. The constant closeness with death. It’s like a fog. I can’t see life because of the constant fog of death hanging over us.
MLK Jr.: Nonviolent is not passive. It’s very strong.
John Lewis: If we are for the people, and the people chose him, then brother, I am marching.
Authorities: This is an unlawful assembly. Go home or go to your church.
MLK Jr.: May we speak with you? There are no words to be had. I don’t see how President Johnson can send troops to Vietnam but can’t send troops to Selma Alabama.
Bible says an eye for an eye! I’m not talking about Bible or about what’s right. I’m taking facts. You take 2 of them and they take 100 of us. I’m talking facts. We have to win another way.
MLK Jr.: No citizen of this country can call themselves blameless because we are all responsible for our fellow man.
MLK Jr.: Speak with Wallace and Clark and urge them against violence instead of asking us to call of a peaceful march.
MLK Jr.: Thousands have gathered here to demonstrate their dignity.
MLK Jr.: I don’t want to go against you or the president. I don’t want any of this. But the president has refused…the power is in his hand.
Pastor from Boston: I couldn’t just stand by after Dr. King put out that call to clergy. I just couldn’t.
*The second march was 1/3 Caucasian participants.*
MLK Jr. about not marching the second time: I’d rather people be upset and hate me than be bleeding or dead.
Pastor from Boston: He kneeled down, prayed to God, got an answer and followed it and I respect him for it.
LBJ: I cannot stop people from expressing… you can!
MLK Jr.: No president. You can. You can do more.
MLK Jr. to LBJ: We won’t sit idle while you continue to take another year to take action.
MLK Jr. to LBJ: It’s great that you called the priest’s widow. You should have. But where was a call to Jimmy Lewis’ mom? You won by a landslide, but you are dismantled by your own legacy.
Try harder, councilor. They’re protesting about the right to vote and the way they are treated in your state. And that’s on your watch.
LBJ: We shouldn’t be focused on 1965. We should be focusing on 1985. What are we gonna be remembered for? … Well I’ll be d***ed if I’ll let the history books put me in with the likes of you.
LBJ: Rarely does an issues lay bare the heart of America. There is no Negro problem, no Southern problem. There is only American problem.
Attorney General: I don’t want to see this go wrong for you, Dr. Let me protect you.
MLK Jr.: I’m no different than anybody else. I want to live long and be happy…but I’m not focused on what I want today. I’m focused on what God wants. [I may die, but] as long as there’s light ahead for them, it’s worth it for me.