„This amendment supplies that defect, and allows Congress to correct the unjust legislation of the States, so far that the law which operates upon one man shall operate equally upon all. Whatever law punishes a white man for a crime shall punish the black man precisely in the same way and to the same degree. Whatever law protects the white man shall afford equal protection to the black man. Whatever means of redress is afforded to one shall be afforded to all. Whatever law allows the white man to testify in court shall allow the man of color to do the same.“

—  James Abram Garfield, 1870s, Speech in the House of Representatives (1871), Context: I can hardly believe that any person can be found who will not admit that every one of these provisions is just. They are all asserted, in some form or other, in our Declaration or organic law. But the Constitution limits only the action of Congress, and is not a limitation on the States. This amendment supplies that defect, and allows Congress to correct the unjust legislation of the States, so far that the law which operates upon one man shall operate equally upon all. Whatever law punishes a white man for a crime shall punish the black man precisely in the same way and to the same degree. Whatever law protects the white man shall afford equal protection to the black man. Whatever means of redress is afforded to one shall be afforded to all. Whatever law allows the white man to testify in court shall allow the man of color to do the same. These are great advantages over their present codes. Now different degrees of punishment are inflicted, not on account of the magnitude of the crime, but according to the color of the skin. Now color disqualifies a man from testifying in courts or being tried in the same way as white men.
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James Abram Garfield
20º presidente degli Stati Uniti d'America 1831 - 1881
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„I am glad to be able to fortify my position on this point by the great name and ability of Theophilus Parsons, of the Harvard Law School. In discussing the necessity of negro suffrage at a recent public meeting in Boston, he says: "Some of the Southern States have among their statutes a law prohibiting the education of a colored man under a heavy penalty. The whole world calls this most inhuman, most infamous. And shall we say to the whites of those States, 'We give you complete and exclusive power of legislating about the education of the blacks; but beware, for if you lift them by education from their present condition, you do it under the penalty of forfeiting and losing your supremacy?' Will not slavery, with nearly all its evils, and with none of its compensation, come back at once? Not under its own detested name; it will call itself apprenticeship; it will put on the disguise of laws to prevent pauperism, by providing that every colored man who does not work in some prescribed way shall be arrested, and placed at the disposal of the authorities; or it will do its work by means of laws regulating wages and labor. However it be done, one thing is certain: if we take from the slaves all the protection and defence they found in slavery, and withhold from them all power of self-protection and self-defence, the race must perish, and we shall be their destroyers."“

—  James A. Garfield American politician, 20th President of the United States (in office in 1881) 1831 - 1881
1860s, Oration at Ravenna, Ohio (1865)

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„The propaganda of prejudice and hatred which sought to keep the colored men from supporting the national cause completely failed. The black man showed himself the same kind of citizen, moved by the same kind of patriotism, as the white man. They were tempted, but not one betrayed his country.“

—  Calvin Coolidge American politician, 30th president of the United States (in office from 1923 to 1929) 1872 - 1933
1920s, The Progress of a People (1924), Context: The propaganda of prejudice and hatred which sought to keep the colored men from supporting the national cause completely failed. The black man showed himself the same kind of citizen, moved by the same kind of patriotism, as the white man. They were tempted, but not one betrayed his country. Among well-nigh 400,000 colored men who were taken into the military service, about one-half had overseas experience. They came home with many decorations and their conduct repeatedly won high commendation from both American and European commanders.

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„These are the laws that truly declare the eternal equality of all men, of all races, before the man-made laws of our land“

—  Dwight D. Eisenhower American general and politician, 34th president of the United States (in office from 1953 to 1961) 1890 - 1969
1950s, Address at the Philadelphia Convention Hall (1956), Context: So it is that the laws most binding us as a people are laws of the spirit—proclaimed in church and synagogue and mosque. These are the laws that truly declare the eternal equality of all men, of all races, before the man-made laws of our land. And we are profoundly aware that—in the world—we can claim the trust of hundreds of millions of people, across Africa and Asia—only as we ourselves hold high the banner of justice for all.

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„If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.“

—  Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of the United States of America 1743 - 1826
Misattributed, Not attributed to Jefferson until the 21st century. May be a loose paraphrasing of a passage from Declaration of Independence (1776): "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." Variant: When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.

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„After the long night, and longer twilight, we envisage a dawn-era: an era in which the minor law of tradition shall yield to the greater law of creation, in which the spirit of repression shall fail to repress.
Man at last is become emancipated, and now is free to think, to feel, to act free to move toward the goal of the race.“

—  Louis Sullivan American architect 1856 - 1924
Education (1902), Context: After the long night, and longer twilight, we envisage a dawn-era: an era in which the minor law of tradition shall yield to the greater law of creation, in which the spirit of repression shall fail to repress. Man at last is become emancipated, and now is free to think, to feel, to act free to move toward the goal of the race. Humanitarianism slowly is dissolving the sway of utilitarianism, and an enlight- ened unselfishness is on its way to supersede a benighted rapacity. And all this, as a deep-down force in nature awakens to its strength, animating the growth and evolution of democracy. Under the beneficent sway of this power, the hold of illusion and suppression is passing; the urge of reality is looming in force, extent and penetration, and the individual now is free to become a man, in the highest sense, if so he wills.

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