Eleven of brilliant and courageous men and women who took us forward.
July 12, 1904-September 23, 1973
I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,
and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.
Norma Jeane Mortenson
June 1, 1926-August 5, 1962
I am not a victim of emotional conflicts. I am human.
Norma Jeane Mortenson
May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978
el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz
May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965
“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”
― Malcolm X
February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003
“I am just one of the people who is sick of the social order, sick of the establishment, sick to my soul of it all. To me, America’s society is nothing but a cancer, and it must be exposed before it can be cured. I am not the doctor to cure it. All I can do is expose the sickness.”
― Nina Simone
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963
“If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal”, then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”
― John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage
Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 15, 1929- April 4, 1968
There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau
July 5, 1889 – 11 October 11, 1963
The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.
March 27, 1926 – July 25, 1966
Simone de Beauvoir
January 9, 1908 – April 14, 1986
Life is occupied in both perpetuating itself and in surpassing itself; if all it does is maintain itself, then living is only not dying. Simone de Beauvoir
December 19, 1910-April 15, 1986
What I did not yet know so intensely was the hatred of the white American for the black, a hatred so deep that I wonder if every white man in this country, when he plants a tree, doesn’t see Negroes hanging from its branches. Jean Genet
Disclaimer: To the best of my knowledge the images on this page are in the public domain.
Header photo, Portrait of Malcolm X, by Rob Goldstein (c) 2016