There are many persons ready to do what is right because in their hearts they know it is right. But they hesitate, waiting for the other fellow to make the first move—and he, in turn, waits for you. The minute a person whose word means a great deal dares to take the open- hearted and courageous way, many others follow. Not everyone can be turned aside from meanness and hatred, but the great majority of Americans is heading in that direction. I have a great belief in the future of my people and my country.
Marian Anderson (1897–1993), African American singer. My Lord, What a Morning, ch. 28 (1956).
Born in south Philadelphia, Anderson had developed into one of the most talented and famous singers in the world. But she had suffered greatly from racial discrimination along the way and had been prevented from achieving the major operatic career that many believed should have been hers by right of ability. When she wrote this, the civil rights movement was just getting underway.