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Marian Wright Edelman

  • There are levels of outrage, and there's a point at which you can't be trespassed upon anymore.

    • Marian Wright Edelman,
    • in Joyce Teitz, What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? ()
  • Parents have become so convinced that educators know what is best for children that they forget that they themselves are really the experts.

    • Marian Wright Edelman,
    • in Margie Casady, "Society's Pushed-Out Children," Psychology Today ()
  • We are willing to spend the least amount of money to keep a kid at home, more to put him in a foster home, and the most to institutionalize him.

    • Marian Wright Edelman,
    • in Margie Casady, "Society's Pushed-Out Children," Psychology Today ()
  • You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation.

    • Marian Wright Edelman,
    • in FoundationNews ()
  • ... the poor have been sent to the front lines of a federal budget deficit reduction war that few other groups were drafted to fight ...

  • Democracy is not a spectator sport.

  • Justice is not cheap. Justice is not quick. It is not ever finally achieved.

  • We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.

  • Failure is just another way to learn how to do something right.

  • If you don't like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it, one step at a time.

    • Marian Wright Edelman,
    • in Time ()
  • Children cannot eat rhetoric and they cannot be sheltered by commissions. I don't want to see another commission that studies the needs of kids. We need to help them.

    • Marian Wright Edelman,
    • in Brian Lanker, I Dream a World ()
  • It doesn't matter how many times you fall down. What matters is how many times you get up.

  • Learn to be quiet enough to hear the sound of the genuine within yourself so that you can hear it in others.

  • I have always believed that I could help change the world, because I have been lucky to have adults around me who did.

  • Character, self-discipline, determination, attitude and service are the substance of life.

  • ... service is the rent we pay for living.

  • It is utterly exhausting being Black in America — physically, mentally, and emotionally. While many minority groups and women feel similar stress, there is no respite or escape from your badge of color.

  • It is a spiritually impoverished nation that permits infants and children to be the poorest Americans.

  • It is the responsibility of every adult — especially parents, educators, and religious leaders — to make sure that children hear what we have learned from the lessons of life, and to hear over and over that we love them and that they are not alone.

  • No time is ever wasted if you have a book along as a companion.

  • Service to others is the rent you pay for living on this planet.

    • Marian Wright Edelman,
    • in Wallace Terry, "Make Things Better for Somebody," Parade ()
  • ... the crisis of children having children has been eclipsed by the greater crisis of children killing children.

    • Marian Wright Edelman,
    • news item ()
  • Hope is the best contraceptive.

    • Marian Wright Edelman,
    • in Jane Fonda, My Life So Far ()
  • It's time for greatness, not greed. Idealism, not ideology. It's a time not just for compassionate words, but compassionate action.

    • Marian Wright Edelman,
    • in Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, Stop the Next War Now ()
  • History does not pose problems without eventually producing the solutions.

    • Marian Wright Edelman
  • Don't assume a door is closed; push on it. Do not assume if it was closed yesterday that it is closed today.

    • Marian Wright Edelman,
    • in Vital Issues ()
  • Do not feel entitled to anything you do not sweat or struggle for.

  • Never let us confuse what is legal with what is right. Everything Hitler did in Nazi Germany was legal, but it was not right.

    • Marian Wright Edelman,
    • speech ()

Marian Wright Edelman, U.S. lawyer, founder of Children's Defense Fund

(1939)